Effects of Returnees Re-Integration on the Livelihoods of Host Communities in Leer County, South Sudan
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Although international press has covered the conflicts in the Sudan region extensively, the effects of returnees’ reintegration on sustainable livelihoods of host communities have not received much attention. Findings from Leer in South Sudan indicated that contrary to expectation, host communities play a leading role in the returnees to socio-economic reintegration than government, the international community and civil society organisations. Immediate support provided by host communities centred on the provision of basic needs like food, water, shelter, productive assets and start-off money, all of which are hinged on established traditional kinship ties and relationships of trust and reciprocity. Nevertheless, the influx of returnees resulted into competition for various scarce resources creating conflicts and tensions that threatened the realization of durable peaceful co-existence between the returnees and their hosts. Although a burden in the short term, reintegrated returnees collectively participate in community activities and make their contribution to the improvement of their conditions and general development of the area using diverse skills that they possess and or acquire over time in the displacement and or refugee camps. National and international effort on sustainable returnee re-integration should focus on strengthening the participation of host communities, provision of critical basic needs and services, accelerated access to land, and decisive internal political stabilization.