Exploring response of local community to challenges of hosting refugees

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Kampala International University
This study explored the response of the host community towards the challenges of hosting refugees in Nakivale camp, western Uganda. Using a qualitative research design, 32 participants were purposively recruited in the host community and the refugee settlement. Four focus group discussions each consisting of 6 participants and eight in-depth interviews were conducted. The focus group discussions and in-depth interviews were minute recorded, transcribed, coded, and analyzed thematically based on the objectives of the study. The findings indicated that In general, the host communities have developed ways to adapt to refugee crisis. They have built social integration with the refugees’ community; they have resorted to prayer to strengthen them and they have accepted the refugees and always shared with them the little resources such as water, land, education and health available; which has helped the host communities and refugees to share different ideologies, experiences and future prospects sometimes. The study also revealed that the host community have both positive and negative perceptions to local host communities. Many participants of the host community were sympathetic and some took advantage of the refugees’ opportunities and benefited substantially from the presence of refugees and international relief organizations and have positive perception towards any help they receive. However, some were not able to benefit as much, and some even lost access to resources like land, water and health services which they previously enjoyed which gives them negative perception towards refugees. The study revealed that land conflicts were very common in the areas around Nakivale camp and alongside the few environmental and political conflicts that existed. The conflicts between the host community and the refugees are to a larger extent caused by limited and scarce natural resources that are shared. In addition, the conflict is mostly caused by unequal treatment between the refugees and the host community by both donors and the government. It was reported that the host community does not get aid or support the same way refugees do through refugee agencies like UNHCR and this implies that refugees get the chance to access better education, health, and basic livelihood which the host do not get. Land usage is a limited resource that causes conflicts in Nakivale camp and local areas around. The host community and refugees use land for grazing their animals, cultivating their crops and building the shelters on. It was reported that host xii community has sometimes been removed by force from their ancestral land by Uganda government authorities to give room for the settlement of refugees.
A Research Thesis Submitted to the Directorate of Post Graduate Studies and Research Kampala International University in Tanzania In Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Award Degree of Master in Conflict Resolution
Exploring response, Local community, Hosting refugees