Settlement, coping strategies and challenges facing self-settled refugees in Ruiru Subcounty in Kiambu County, 1990-2013
Gitahi, Martha Wangui
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Sudanese women refugees self-settled in most urban centres have become a common phenomenon. This necessitated the study of the extent to which they get integrated into the communities in which they self-settle, and the set-backs they encounter outside the encampment facilities, and how they pull through life nevertheless. A number of studies have shown that many refugees have been hosted in Kenya’s Kakuma and Daadab refugee camps where their needs are not effectively met. However, there is little evidence about the circumstances and challenges that these Sudanese refugee women encounter when they leave these camps and self-settle among the local community. The main objective of the study was, to explore the challenges and circumstances that the women encounter and highlight strategies refugee women devise in order to rebuild their lives and carve a niche for themselves in Ruiru sub-county. The theoretical frameworks that was be employed in the study are the gender theory as well as resilience theory. The literature review discussed the situation of Sudanese in Africa, challenges for women in the resettlement process, challenging conceptions of gender roles, the history of refugee population in Kenya, among other related areas. The study was a qualitative research, which was largely descriptive. It took place in Ruiru sub-county. Sudanese refugee women, their community leaders and the locals who live in the areas occupied by the Sudanese refugees were involved in the study. Purposive sampling method was used in the study. The research findings revealed that Sudanese refugee women in Kenya faced many challenges. These challenges necessitate them to employ mechanisms, economic religious and social support structures. The research recommended various intervention plans for action by the Government of Kenya and other organizations concerned with refugee status.