Managing the welfare of refugees and host communities in Uganda: the case of the Bidibidi refugee settlement in Yumbe district
Sengonze, Enock, Esao
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This dissertation explores the issue of welfare management between refugees and their hosts in the Bidibidi refugee Settlement, probing why after many years of shifting from an encampment policy to a settlement policy, peaceful coexistence has failed to be achieved and refugee integration is still being questioned up to date. The study was ethnographic and employed qualitative methods like key informant interviews, focus group discussions and observation, to collect data. The study urges that while resource conflicts is the major welfare gap, cultural diversity emerging from the use of different languages and hatred among the South Sudanese tribes from the home country have also played a leading in the emerging welfare management and has contributed to continuous conflicts between refugees themselves, host communities and service providers. Such welfare management challenges are emerging from refugee emergency parallel planning and implementation of development projects from humanitarian agencies and local government since 2016 when the Bidibidi Refugee settlement was created. Though the situation for the two groups is not normal, they continue to survive despite existent welfare gaps between them. The tense situation has attracted repeated interventions from UNHCR, OPM and humanitarian agencies through continuous dialogues and leveraging on the past shared history between Ugandans and the South Sudanese people, however this has not solved the problem. Therefore, the researcher recommends for a joint approach to planning by integrating refugee planning into the National Development planning as compared to the refugee emergency sectorial approach that has often resulted into portraying refugees as a special group of people as compared to the host community. Additionally, since these are two different groups, culture should be at the forefront in the development of policies for interventions
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