Internal Displacement, Conflict and Protection


This course provides insight into the phenomenon of internal displacement, a major humanitarian and development challenge in today’s world. Taking a global perspective, you will learn about who internally displaced persons (IDPs) are and where they come from, as well as delving into the fundamentals of the global protection response for IDPs and potential ‘solutions’ for those who have been internally displaced. The course places you at the centre of the learning experience through engagement with a range of robust and challenging activities, materials and online peer engagement.

This course has been developed by a specialised consortium of research networks and institutions working on IDP protection and research:
• Global Engagement Network on Internal Displacement in Africa
• Latin American Network on Internal Displacement
• Middle East Network for Research on Internal Displacement
• Internal Displacement Research Programme and Birkbeck at the University of London.
Learners who have completed this course may seek to continue studying on our online Master’s programme in Refugee Protection and Forced Migration Studies. In 2019, this MA was awarded the prestigious Roger Mills Prize for its innovative approach to online learning. That programme builds upon the MOOC experience, delivering a fully accredited Master’s degree in an online learning environment.
The development of this course was supported by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC), on behalf of the UKRI Global Challenge Research Fund (GCRF) as part of the funded project “Interdisciplinary Network on Internal Displacement, Conflict and Protection” (AH/T005351/1), working in collaboration with network leaders Dr Beatriz Sanchez Mojica, Dr Hana Asfour and Dr Romola Adeola.
Key learning objectives:
• Explain the main trends in internal displacement, and why IDPs merit special assistance
• Assess ‘protection’ and ‘solutions’ for IDPs, including the links to development
• Evaluate the experience of internal displacement, drawing on research and creative sources

What you will learn

Course Introduction

This session introduces you to this online training programme, its learning objectives and the essential skills that we envisage you will learn. Please review the Key Information document, the Course Introduction video and activities and then proceed to our first weekly lesson: ‘ Internal displacement: scale, causes and effects’.

Week 1: Internal displacement: scale, causes and effects

Internal displacement due to armed conflict is a global phenomenon in today’s world. This session introduces you to key figures on the scale of internal displacement globally, as well as current trends in the drivers of internal displacement and its effects on those displaced.

Week 2: The emergence of IDP law, policy and institutions

Since the 1990s, the fundamentals of an international system for responding to the protection and assistance needs of internally displaced persons (IDPs) have become increasingly established. This session introduces you to debates around the emergence of IDPs as a global category of concern. This session also outlines the main features of the framework for IDP protection at global, regional and national levels, as well as the roles of the main institutional actors at the international level in responding to internal displacement.

Week 3: IDP protection in practice

Last week, you studied law and policy frameworks on IDP ‘protection’ – but, in situations of conflict, what does that mean in practice? This session will examine not only the main elements of the term ‘protection’ in conflict contexts but also the practical challenges and responses to attempting to provide protection to IDPs during conflict. This week will also ask you to think about protection as a state that is not only provided by others but which also be developed through the agency of IDP communities that have their own mechanisms for self-protection in conflict contexts.

What’s included