“Coping Strategies and Social Network of South Sudanese Refugees in Uganda”
Civil War, Conflict Resolution, Refugee, African Iron Technology, Visual Anthropology, East Africa
Ethiopia, South Sudan, Uganda
Uganda has been hosting a large number of refugees and asylum seekers from conflict-affected countries such as Sudan, Democratic Republic of Congo, Rwanda, Somalia, Burundi and Kenya since 1950s.My study aims to reveal the coping strategies of South Sudanese refugees under Uganda’s refugee policy through the fieldwork among some refugee settlements in Uganda. The key elements of the research are: 1) analyzing the socio-economic aspects of livelihoods both of long-term refugees and new arrivals; 2) investigating the social solidarity of refugee communities and the social networks of refugees tied to urban area and their countries of origin.
South Sudan gained independence from Sudan in 2011 after a 22-year civil war (1983-2005). The youngest nation in the world, however, suffers from the new war between government troops and rebel forces that broke out in Juba, its capital city, since mid-December 2013. More than seven months of battles have left thousands dead and displaced 1.5 million people. Uganda was the largest hosting country of Sudanese refugees in 1990s. Majority of them returned to their countries of origin after civil war, while some remain in Uganda as long-term refugees. Currently, Uganda hosts 120,000 new arrivals from South Sudan.
Uganda has adopted Self-Reliance Strategy (SRS) regarding refugee policy through promoting social development initiatives in hosting area. The aim of SRS is to encourage self-sufficiency in food production through allocation of land to refugees as well as to integrate refugees into Uganda society. SRS is considered to be relatively enlightened refugee policy different from encampment policy of refugees, while such issues as land shortage, soil exhaustion and the depletion of forest resources has been reported.
This study can elucidate how individual refugees cope with challenges they face in a country of asylum, focusing on their self-directed practices of living.