Survival strategies adopted by urban refugees in Mengo-Kisenyi, Kampala District
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The study was set out to identify the survival strategies adopted by urban refugees in Kampala, Uganda with the objectives of examining the copying mechanisms employed by urban refugees to promote their livelihood, to profile the livelihood activities involved in by urban refugees and to find out the contribution of social networks in ensuring survival of urban refugees. A descriptive cross sectional study approach was used to generate information. The study employed a mixed methods design that is to say qualitative and quantitative methods of data collection were in order to get detailed data. The data was collected from 100 urban refugees. The study found out that urban refugees were faced with challenges of limited access to basic needs, unemployment, isolation and depression, poor living conditions, limited access to health services, immediate and negative natural reactions from strangers, high taxes, misunderstood, cheated, xenophobic sentiments, high costs of living, harassment and sexual assault, little and delayed payments and violence. However, these had adopted some strategies such as seeking assistance from family, friends and neighbors, believing in God, hoping for the future, seeking for formal support from social workers, pulling children out of school, reducing on the number of meals, engaging in commercial sex and engaging in micro enterprises to cope with the challenges. Secondly, The urban refugees had social networks based on their household members and peers that were contributing significantly through providing financial assistance, teaching them a new language, strengthening their ethnic-cultural identity, facilitating access to social services and introducing them to religious institutions to ensure they survive. Laslty, the study found that urban refugees were involved in many livelihood activities such as market vending/shop attending, teaching, jewelry and cosmetics vending, boda boda riding, tailoring, sports betting, bar attending, hair dressing, shoemaking/cobbler, prostitute/commercial sex workers, restaurant attendant, car washing and mechanics and stationary attendant. From the study, most of the challenges faced by urban refugees are due to lack of legal protection to urban refugees. To ensure that these challenges are down sized, the government should develop policies that help to protect the urban refugees from challenges such as violence, exploitation among others.