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Factors that influence local attitudes towards refugees in Kenya

Show simple item record Fred N Ikanda 2020-08-25T10:09:58Z 2020-08-25T10:09:58Z 2004
dc.description the record can be found in this URL. en_US
dc.description.abstract This study focused on the factors that influence local attitudes towards refugees in Kenya. The study was carried out on two sites: Dadaab refugee camp in Garissa District in North Eastern Province, and the former Thika Reception Centre for Refugees in Central Province. Specifically, the study focused on economic and social factors that have been influencing the attitudes of Kenyans towards refugees. This was a cross-sectional study that adopted both qualitative and quantitative data collection methods. Three methods were used to collect the qualitative data: key informant interviews, focus group discussions, and simple observation. For quantitative data, a questionnaire was used at the two sites. Because of the nomadic nature of respondents at Dadaab, purposive sampling was used to identify the respondents. Data analysis for quantitative data was done using the statistical package for social scientists (S~SS), and the results presented using percentages and frequency tables. For the qualitative method, data was thematically coded to indicate consistency in information on various topics. Direct quotations have been used to present this information. The findings suggest that the attitudes of Kenyans towards refugees are being negatively influenced by a combination of social and economic factors. On the economic side, competition for the meager resources in the already impoverished semi-arid camp areas has created hostility between the locals and the refugees. The local hosting communities also seem to hate refugees because they perceive them as being more economically better off. This is due to the more business enterprises that are owned by refugees as compared to the locals, the free food and services that refugees are provided with, the more job opportunities that refugees are preferentially given by the agencies as opposed to the locals, and the assistance that is given to the refugees in the Kenyan camps by their relatives resettled in developed countries. Socially, the locals' hatred for refuges seems to be emanating from the fact that refugees outnumber the local population at Dadaab by far. The large number of refugees has exceeded the carrying capacity of local resources and has also led to displacement of the locals from their prime grazing land. In addition, the protracted refugee situations at the Kenyan camps also result in public fatigue about refugees. Lastly, the Kenya government and the locals at both Dadaab and the closed Thika Reception Centre hate refugees because they associate them with insecurity. On the basis of the findings, the following recommendations are made: UNHCR and other agencies dealing with refugees should review their policies to include the locals in their assistance programmes. This will reduce the locals' hatred for refugees since the locals will start feeling that they are also benefiting from the refugee presence in their area . The Kenya Government should improve the infrastructure in the semi-arid regions where refugees are hosted. This will help to improve the economic position of the local inhabitants in these regions that will, in turn, make them self-reliant . The refugee population at Dadaab should be reduced to make it manageable by, for instance, resettling refugees in other areas with adequate resources. This will reduce the current environmental degradation that is being caused by the huge refugee numbers. en_US
dc.publisher Institute of African Studies, University of Nairobi en_US
dc.title Factors that influence local attitudes towards refugees in Kenya en_US
dc.type Article en_US

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