Banking on solutions: A real-time evaluation of UNHCR's shelter grant programme for returning displaced people in northern Sri Lanka

In Sri Lanka, 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. Many of the displaced people are now going back to their places of origin or taking up residence with family members in other locations. UNHCR has played an important role in the resettlement process, monitoring their welfare, 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.