Challenges and prospects of refugees in social- economic participation in Zambia: a case of Meheba refugee settlement, Kalumbila.
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This study was an investigation into challenges and prospects of refugees‟ in social economic participation; in Meheba refugee settlement of Kalumbila. The objectives of this study were to examine refugees‟ social and economic participation in Zambia, to identify the challenges refugees face in their community in Zambia and to explore factors which enable or constrain refugees‟ to participate socially and economically in Zambia. The sampling procedure used in this study was stratified random sampling. In this case, an equal number of participants was randomly selected to avoid over representation of the sample and therefore leading to erroneous interpretation of data. A case study design was used so as to have a deeper understanding of the challenges and prospects of refugees in participation with regards to employment and the community in Maheba. Following a qualitative research methodology, empirical data was collected from a total sample of 29 participants. The data collected was through interviews, field notes, informal dialogues, focus group discussions as well as observations. The main findings of this research were that most of the refugees were not included in employment and were rarely considered in national matters, neither were they considered in social empowerments. Furthermore, refugees face a lot of challenges such as transportation, access to education, health facilities and lack of proper psychosocial counselling services among other things. In addition, there were also a number of factors that affected their participation socially and economically such as communication and cultural barriers coupled with change in family dynamics. The recommendations were therefore that the United Nations High Commission for Refugees should be operating on the grassroots direct with the refugees themselves through government institutions to carry out their many initiated activities in a most prudent and efficient manner; and that the Zambian Government after a through screening process of refugees, should allow the refugees to stand up for their rights. As a refugee acknowledging and accepting the new status is one important gateway to escape the sense of self-pity. The study therefore concludes that for socio-economic participation to be appreciated and trusted, organizations and the government need to come in and render full support.
The University of Zambia