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Pakistan: Collection of population data in a porous camp setting

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Pakistan: Collection of population data in a porous camp setting

The CCCM sector has learned from its experiences in both conflicts and natural disasters, and has been continuously reviewing its projects, programs and responses. This first edition of CCCM Case Studies presents 12 summaries of CCCM activities from 11 different countries. The purpose of this publication is to provide lessons as a knowledge base to support humanitarian operations (in both emergency and protracted contexts). Programs introduced in these case studies were implemented by CCCM Cluster agencies, as well as national authorities, in response to large-scale displacement caused by different types of humanitarian crises: these include earthquakes (Haiti), floods (Namibia, Thailand, Pakistan), typhoons (the Philippines), conflicts (Burundi, Kenya, Myanmar, Pakistan, Uganda, Yemen), and complex emergencies (Colombia). In light of these diverse contexts, each case study portrays experiences, successful practices, challenges and lessons.


An estimated four million people have been displaced by conflict in Pakistan’s Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province (KPP) region since 2004. Sectarian violence and widespread human rights abuses are prevalent in Pakistan’s volatile north-west. Populations within the FATA, Khyber, and Kurram regions have been the worst affected, with those living in IDP camps considered the most in need of humanitarian assistance. The CCCM Cluster is currently responsible for three camps in the KPP FATA region. Its responsibilities entail: identifying, monitoring and reporting on standards; and coordinating multi-sectoral services. Originally the site of an Afghan refugee camp, Jalozai camp, became one of the largest sites for IDPs in Pakistan. Due to its close proximity to urban areas, IDPs registered in Jalozai camp live in a fluid environment, with many IDPs often residing with host families in the surrounding areas. Consequently, numerous tents have been abandoned and unidentified residents have moved in. Due to issues of gender-based violence (GBV) and security, with the high risk of abandoned tents being used to host suicide bombers, the Provincial Disaster Management Authority (PDMA) and CCCM partners decided to carry out a joint tent-to-tent survey to verify the actual number of IDP families residing in the camp. While population survey exercises had previously been conducted in Jalozai camp, there was still a lack of accurate baseline camp population figures to uniform humanitarian interventions. When the provincial housing authority started to plan a new housing scheme, the opportunity arose to coordinate with local authorities on a tent-to-tent survey in three sections of the Jalozai camp. This later facilitated a wider adoption of the tent-to-tent survey results.


Tent-to-tent survey objectives

  • Identify the actual number of families residing in the camp, specifically in three of the eight camp sections which were previously identified by CCCM actors as areas with a high percentage of vacant tents.
  • Update baseline data for the future planning and allocation of resources according to the actual number of families residing in the camp.
  • The results of the survey will indicate whether camp consolidation measures need to be pursued. Consolidation is a method to ensure the provision of better services and protection assistance.
  • Physically divide families according to their tribal group to reduce in-camp social problems.


Action Taken

  • A basic survey was designed to answer the key question: “Who lives in each tent?”
  • A two-day orientation and training session was held to ensure a clear understanding of the survey tool and methodology.
  • 16 gender-balanced teams from key government and humanitarian agencies were identified to conduct the survey.
  • Random sampling was used. Only key CCCM partners were informed about the upcoming survey to ensure that IDPs were not given prior notice of the exercise.
  • An existing grievance desk was utilized in the administration block to record genuine reasons for a families’ absence during the survey.
  • Data collected in the surveys was cross-referenced with the existing database.



  • Concerned IDP families interrupted the survey for fear of losing their camp status if discovered not to be residing inside the camp.
  • Some IDPs protested against the survey exercise. This was mainly due to the fact that the off-camp IDP families were not willing to lose their benefits as registered in-camp IDPs. To date this is still an ongoing issue as many of these off-camp IDPs are visiting and protesting inside the camp.
  • Security issues: CCCM Cluster members postponed a portion of the data collection exercise due to resistance from IDPs. This led to a disruption in conducting the survey as originally planned.


  • The survey was accomplished in a short amount of time (four days) due to strong collaboration and consultation with the camp committee and representatives of the concerned families.
  • The survey provided useful data. The quantitative analysis of the survey indicated that 77% (9,455) of the original (12,231) tents were still erected; 40% (3,766) were empty or abandoned, and the remaining 60% (5,689 tents) were occupied by IDP families residing in the camp. Consequently, the official figures of IDPs residing in Jalozai camp was reduced by more than 50%.
  • All CCCM partners, including the local authorities, accepted the new population figures.



  • Empty and/or abandoned tents can present potential security risks for crimes and other protection-related concerns in camps and should be addressed immediately.
  • A grievance desk is an essential tool to ensure beneficiaries are heard.
  • An in-depth two-day orientation training for the survey team was essential to clarify roles, expectations, and make the survey as efficient as possible.
  • National staff’s in-depth local knowledge proved invaluable in negotiations. The national staff understood the local context and was able to build rapport with camp committee representatives in a timely fashion.
  • Accurate and reliable population figures should be reflected in all camp indicator reports. Prior to the tent-to-tent survey, the camp population data reflected numbers which were three times those previously used for camp indicators, which presents large-scale implications for resources.
  • Close collaboration and coordination with local authorities on information management was vital to avoid parallel structures.
  • Regular meetings were essential in order to properly advocate and share key messages and concerns with the local authorities. The lead cluster agency in the Peshawar office is actively involved in these processes.
  • CCCM Cluster should liaise regularly with local authorities, partners and other clusters to strengthen cross-sectoral work (i.e. WASH and Health) and develop a holistic approach to camp consolidation.
  • If applicable, consolidation plans should take into consideration ethnic and tribal balance, especially in designing the layout of the consolidated areas to avoid insecurity and challenges to the rule of law.