Exploring Refugee-Host Relationship and Settlement in West Nile Sub Region
Author: ADUBANGO COLLINS
Supervisor: Michael Mawa
The study explored refugee-host relationship and settlement within West Nile sub region between May to July 2018. Specifically it looked at the nature of relationships, factors that determine the relationships and mechanisms to enhance refugee-host relationship with the view of promoting co-existence and sustainable livelihood.
The study was conducted through FGD, one-on-one interviews and review of secondary data to explain the refugee-host relationship as they were, as they are and as they will be in enhancing refugee-host relationship and settlement.
On the nature of relationship, the host community had a hospitality manifested by high level of friendliness exhibited and free interaction with host community with strongest relationship being mostly with neighbours.
Pertaining factors that determine the refugees-host relationship, there was a mutual benefit to both the refugees in relation to peaceful environment, welcoming atmosphere among others and the host community in terms of employment, livelihood opportunities and co-existence. The conflicts experienced could be termed as trivial and insignificant as they were mostly at water points and firewood collection spots by the young stars, though in isolated cases leading to deaths. There was also a universal acceptance by host community that refugees have bad cultures, although this may be more connected to peopleís perceptions than to reality as there is limited evidence. Still, perceptions matter and should be acknowledged as equally meaningful because they have the power to shape reality and relationships. Other challenges were related to service delivery in education where classrooms were congested and health in which drugs could go out of stock at the nearby health centers. The community leaders and politicians however played a great role in fostering unity among the refugees and with the host community though emphasized of cultural differences as a stumbling block.
In an effort to come up with a decision of how to promote Sustainable Refugee Settlement, a comparative analysis was made of the state of refugee-hot relationship by the time they (refugees) came to the country with the current situations. It was found that the refugees were better off now than when they came though few maintained that their situation has not changed. A lot of aspects improved to both the refugees and the host community. In an effort to curtail some of the challenges, it was needful for community dialogue that is to be enforced by the local leadership, environmental and cultural diversity concern be addressed by the UNHCR and the implementing partners so that they (refugees) are properly rehabilitated and integrated into the local community.