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Gettysburg College

Publication Date

Fall 2013

Program Name

Uganda: Post-Conflict Transformation


This research project was designed to investigate the challenges refugees face in securing a livelihood, and to understand the extent to which the United Nations, the government of Uganda, and various aid groups are able to assist refugees in achieving self-reliance, and the capacity that refugees have to empower themselves. It also endeavors to expose any disparities between nationality groups, and the impact of these differences. Furthermore, this project aims to explore the impact of refugee livelihood security on regional physical security and community stability.

Research for this study was conducted in Kyangwali and Nakivale Refugee Settlements in Uganda, as well as in Kampala, using 30 individual interviews, nine focus group discussions and group interviews, and field study results obtained through an internship with an implementing partner of the United Nations High Commission for Refugees.

The study found that despite international and national policies, and efforts by both non-governmental organizations and refugees to promote livelihood security, the lack of resources available to these offices, the unfavorable business and living conditions inhibiting refugees, and the pervasiveness of dependency prevent long-term solutions for livelihood security and self-reliance from being implemented. It further concludes that the cycle of poverty and dependency will likely continue, especially among Congolese refugees who are the least successful nationality group in securing their livelihoods, unless long-term empowerment and capacity building plans replace short-term handouts as a solution to income and food insecurity. Lastly, regional violence, particularly regarding rebel movements, cannot be addressed until basic human insecurity, including livelihood security among refugees, is also acknowledged and ameliorated.


Demography, Population, and Ecology | Family, Life Course, and Society | Inequality and Stratification | International and Area Studies | Peace and Conflict Studies | Politics and Social Change | Social Work


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