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Case Study

Banking on Solutions: A Real-time Evaluation of UNHCR’s Shelter Grant Programme for Returning Displaced People in Northern Sri Lanka

March 2010 — By Jeff Crisp, Andreas Graf, Vicky Tennant

Approximately 300,000 people were displaced in the final phase of fighting between the army and the LTTE, a 26-year conflict that came to a definitive end on 20 May 2009, with victory for the SLA. Initially transferred to the area of Menik Farm and other closed camps in northern Sri Lanka, where they were confined for several months, many of the displaced people eventually returned to their place of origin. UNHCR supported their resettlement by providing them with essential relief items and distributing a shelter grant of 25,000 rupees (around $220) to each household, so that they could repair and reconstruct their shattered homes.

In order to assess and enhance the effectiveness of this initiative, UNHCR’s Policy Development and Evaluation Service (PDES) has undertaken a real-time evaluation of the shelter grant programme, at the request of UNHCR’s Branch Office in Colombo and Regional Bureau for Asia and the Pacific (RBAP) in Geneva. The evaluation builds on a series of reviews of UNHCR return and reintegration operations conducted by PDES, and on recent work examining the use of cash grants in the voluntary repatriation and reintegration of refugees.