The socio-economic conditions of Banyarwanda Refugees in Mbarara District since 1959.
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The Banyarwanda refugees, especially those living in western Uganda in Mbarara District are an active group in the political and socio-economic affairs not only in the local area but Uganda generally. Compared to other refugees elsewhere in Uganda, the Banyarwanda live in relatively better socio-economic conditions, while some were able to access resources like land and social services like education and health. Since 1959, they have been struggling for integration into Ugandan society, particularly into the Ankole cultural set-up. Cultural aspects such as those relating to cattle keeping, which the Banyarwanda refugees share with the Banyankole people, have been at the centre of integration efforts. This study was carried out among refugees and the population among whom refugees live in Mbarara District (before it was divided up into other districts of Kiruhuura, Ibanda and Isingiro). A qualitative approach was used with information directly got from the Banyarwanda refugees themselves, and among the indigenous people in the district. Interviews were carried out with the guide of questionnaires in the main areas of concentration namely, Nakivale and Oruchinga refugee settlements. It was established in the course of this study that although the Banyarwanda refugees live a life of deprivation, their socio-economic conditions are relatively better compared to other refugees elsewhere in Uganda. The information obtained from different humanitarian agencies for refugees such as UNHCR, Red Cross Society and World Food Programme provided evidence of this. Although some were able to access resources and social services, becoming socially, economically and politically active in the process, there is still discrimination towards the Banyarwanda refugees and their proper integration into the Ankole community has been less successful. Therefore, the Banyarwanda refugees remain a pro-active group of people in the district, struggling for a place or social accommodation in a community where they face discrimination