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In 2018, we undertook initial data collection in Addis Ababa and in the five Dollo Ado camps.

In Addis Ababa, we focused on registered Somali and Eritrean refugees. We surveyed 2,441 refugees and host community members to explore the challenges faced by urban refugees, and the informal adaptation strategies they adopt in response. While our initial findings show that Eritrean refugees have several significant advantages compared with Somalis, such as education, both refugee populations face extreme socio-economic challenges. This includes: low incomes, high unemployment levels, poor mental and physical health, and low life satisfaction. As a result, the overwhelming majority aspire to migrate onwards or access resettlement, with a significant focus on Europe and the USA. Creating sustainable socio-economic opportunities is therefore crucial to improve welfare outcomes and offer alternatives to onward migration. These findings are published in a policy report entitled Refugee Economies in Addis Ababa: Towards Sustainable Opportunities in Urban Communities.

The five Dollo Ado refugee camps were created between 2009 and 2011 in the Somali region of Ethiopia, and host around 200,000 refugees. We randomly selected and surveyed 5,643 refugees and host community members. Based on analysis of our qualitative and quantitative data, we show how refugees strategically use both the cross-border economy and international aid, and how the host community benefits from the presence of refugees. Looking at the economic strategies of Somali refugees in the cross-border economy of Ethiopia's Somali region, we examine questions that have wider relevance for other regions of Ethiopia. We suggest that the economic systems created by refugees and hosts cannot be understood from the standard nation-state perspective usually adopted by the international community. The Dollo Ado economy can only be fully understood as part of a cross-border economy, interconnected to the national economy of Somalia. These findings are published in a policy report entitled Refugee Economies in Dollo Ado: Development Opportunities in a Border Region of Ethiopia.

Between June and December 2019, we also undertook a retrospective evaluation of the impact of the programmes supported by the IKEA Foundation in Dollo Ado. The resulting publication is entitled Building Refugee Economies: An evaluation of the IKEA Foundation’s Programmes in Dollo Ado.