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Refugee woman and the experiences of local integration in Nairobi, Kenya [Elektronische Ressource] / submitted by Rosemary Jaji

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272 pages
REFUGEE WOMEN AND THE EXPERIENCES OF LOCAL INTEGRATION IN NAIROBI, KENYA Dissertation submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements of a doctoral degree awarded by BIGSAS at Bayreuth University Supervisor: Prof. Dr. Kurt Beck November 2009 Submitted by Rosemary Jaji Harare, Zimbabwe Table of Contents Acronyms .................................................................................................................................. v List of Figures.........................................................................................................................vii Abstract/Zusammenfassung.................................................................................................viii Chapter One: Introduction ..................................................................................................... 1 1.0 Situating Refugee Women in Africa .............................................................................. 1 1.1. Definition of Key Concepts.................................................................................................3 1.1.1 Refugee...................................................................................................................... 3 1.1.2. Integration................................................................................................................ 7 1.1.2.1. Integration and Assimilation..........................................
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REFUGEE WOMEN AND THE EXPERIENCES OF
LOCAL INTEGRATION IN NAIROBI, KENYA



Dissertation submitted in partial fulfilment of the
requirements of a doctoral degree awarded by BIGSAS at
Bayreuth University








Supervisor: Prof. Dr. Kurt Beck

November 2009



Submitted by
Rosemary Jaji
Harare, Zimbabwe

Table of Contents

Acronyms .................................................................................................................................. v
List of Figures.........................................................................................................................vii
Abstract/Zusammenfassung.................................................................................................viii

Chapter One: Introduction ..................................................................................................... 1
1.0 Situating Refugee Women in Africa .............................................................................. 1
1.1. Definition of Key Concepts.................................................................................................3
1.1.1 Refugee...................................................................................................................... 3
1.1.2. Integration................................................................................................................ 7
1.1.2.1. Integration and Assimilation............................................................................. 7
1.1.2.2. Local Integration and Local/Organised Settlement.......................................... 8
1.2. Historical and Research Background ................................................................................ 11
1.3. Statement of the Problem .................................................................................................. 15
1.4. Objectives of the Study ..................................................................................................... 18
1.5. Justification of the Study................................................................................................... 18
1.6. A Note on the Field ........................................................................................................... 20
1.6.1. Overview of the Refugee Population in Kenya....................................................... 24
1.7. Refugee Hosting in the Context of Globalisation ............................................................. 26
1.8. Ethics, Methodology and Research Methods.................................................................... 28
1.8.1. Questionnaire......................................................................................................... 30
1.8.2. Structured, Semi-structured and Unstructured interviews..................................... 31
1.8.3. Participant Observation......................................................................................... 33
1.8.4. Focus Group Discussions....................................................................................... 34
1.8.5. Documents.............................................................................................................. 35
1.8.6. Websites, “Tele-observation” and Newspapers..................................................... 36
1.9. Scope and Organisation of the Study ................................................................................ 37

Chapter Two: Local Integration: The Impact of Refugee Identities................................. 38
2.0 Introduction.................................................................................................................. 38
2.1. Attractions of Urban Life for Refugees............................................................................. 39
2.2.1. Security Concerns .................................................................................................. 40
2.2.2. Economic Opportunities......................................................................................... 43
i2.2.3. Medical Needs........................................................................................................ 44
2.2.4. Education ............................................................................................................... 45
2.2.5. Quest for Freedom and Self-determination............................................................ 45
2.2.6. Lack of UNHCR Documents .................................................................................. 48
2.3. Convergence of the Refugee Status with Ethnic Profiling................................................ 49
2.3.1. Refugee Women from the Horn of Africa............................................................... 50
2.3.2. Refugee Women from Sudan 52
2.3.3. Refugee Women from the Great Lakes Region....................................................... 55
2.4. Refugee Women’s Perspectives and Self-representation.................................................. 57
2.4.1. Refugee Women Counter Ethnic Profiling............................................................. 61
2.5. Global and Regional Geopolitics: Ramifications for Refugee Women ............................ 64
2.5.1. Hutu Rwandan Refugee Women............................................................................. 64
2.5.2. Somali Refugee Women.......................................................................................... 69
2.6. Refugee Identities and Geopolitics: Impact on Local Integration..................................... 78

Chapter Three: Legal Protection and Implications for Integration.................................. 88
3.0. Introduction ....................................................................................................................... 88
3.1. UNHCR and Local Integration in Nairobi ........................................................................ 88
3.1.1. Refugee Women and the Status Determination Process ........................................ 91
3.1.2. Treading the Fine Line between the Humanitarian and the Political.................. 100
3.1.3. Dealing with Power: Quest for Legitimacy.......................................................... 104
3.2. Lack of Protection Documents and Integration............................................................... 113
3.3. Refugee Women and Physical Protection ....................................................................... 117
3.3.1. Corruption, Discrimination and Refugee Women Protection.............................. 121
3.4. Refugee Women and Kenyan Authorities 125
3.4.1. Harassment, Extortion and Sexual Violence........................................................ 128
3.5. Refugee Rights Awareness among Refugee Women...................................................... 132
3.6. A Promising Future? Kenya’s Refugee Act.................................................................... 134
3.7. Dilemmas of the Refugee Status in the Process of Integration....................................... 135

Chapter Four: Integration: Economic, Social and Cultural Dimensions ....................... 139
4.0 Introduction............................................................................................................... 139
4.1. Economic, Social and Cultural Circumstances in Nairobi.............................................. 140
4.1.1. Unemployment and Financial Constraints .......................................................... 141
ii4.1.2. The Need for Supplementary and Staple Foodstuffs ............................................ 145
4.1.3. Housing and Rentals ............................................................................................ 147
4.1.4. Access to Medical Services .................................................................................. 149
4.1.5. Education ............................................................................................................. 150
4.2. Humanitarian Assistance as an Obstacle to Integration .................................................. 152
4.3. Exile, Gender Roles and Intra-household Dynamics ...................................................... 156
4.4. Vulnerability to Sexual Abuse ........................................................................................ 166
4.5. Refugee-Local Populations Interface .............................................................................. 169
4.5.1. Language and Cultural Barriers.......................................................................... 172

Chapter Five: Refugee-oriented Organisations and Refugee Women’s Initiatives ....... 177
5.0. Introduction ..................................................................................................................... 177
5.1. Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) and Integration ........................................... 177
5.1.1. Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS)................................................................................ 178
5.1.2. Peace-building, Healing and Reconciliation Programme (PHARP)................... 179
5.1.3. Refugee Consortium of Kenya (RCK) .................................................................. 180
5.2. Government Agencies..................................................................................................... 182
5.2.1. German Technical Development Cooperation (GTZ).......................................... 182
5.3. Shedding off Stereotypes: Quest for Economic Independence....................................... 184
5.4. Refugee Community-based Organisations (RCOs) and Integration............................... 190
5.4.1 Sudanese Women Action Networks (SWAN) ......................................................... 193
5.4.2. Africa Refugee Programme (ARP)....................................................................... 195
5.4.3. Zindua Afrika........................................................................................................ 196
5.5. Exile as an Empowering Experience............................................................................... 199
5.6. “Beating the System”: Deception and Manipulation as Survival Strategies................... 202
5.7. Religion: Spirituality, Economics and Integration.......................................................... 209
5.8. Social Relationships and Integration 213
5.9. Diaspora and Transnational Networks ............................................................................ 216

Chapter Six: Summary and Conclusion............................................................................. 219
6.0. Overview ......................................................................................................................... 219
6.1. The Encampment-Repatriation Regime .......................................................................... 222
6.2. Gender and the Refugee Status ....................................................................................... 223
6.3. The Refugee Phenomenon: Contemporary Realities ...................................................... 224
iii6.4. Towards a Conceptual Understanding of Integration ..................................................... 225
6.5. Conclusion....................................................................................................................... 231

References ............................................................................................................................. 232
Grey Literature and Other Sources......................................................................................... 247

Appendices....... 249

ivAcronyms

ARP Africa Refugee Programme
CPA Comprehensive Peace Agreement
CSO Community Services Officer
CTDs Conventional Travel Documents
DRA Department of Refugee Affairs
DRC Democratic Republic of Congo
FGD Focus Group Discussion
FGM Female Genital Mutilation
GoK Government of Kenya
GTZ German Technical Development
Cooperation/Geselleschaft für Teschnische
Zusammenarbeit
HIAS Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society
HIV/AIDS Human Infective Virus/Acquired Immuno Deficiency
Syndrome
IDPs Internally Displaced Persons
IGAD Inter-Governmental Authority on Development
IGPs Income Generating Projects
JRS Jesuit Refugee Service
KANU Kenya African National Union
KHRC Human Rights Commission
KNCHR Kenya National Commission on Human Rights
KTN Television Network
MCDs Membership Categorisation Devices
MIR Inference-rich Representative
MRC Mandate Refugee Certificate
NARAP Nairobi Archdiocese Refugee Assistance Programme
NARC National Rainbow Coalition
NGOs Non Governmental Organisations
OAU/AU Organisation of African Unity/African Union
ODM Orange Democratic Movement
OLR Oromo Liberation Front
vPHARP Peace-building Healing and Reconciliation Programme
PNU Party of National Unity
POP Parish Outreach Programme
RAC Refugee Affairs Committee
RCK Consortium of Kenya
RCOs Community-based Organisations
RPF Rwandan Patriotic Front
SGBV Sexual and Gender-Based Violence
SWAN Sudanese Women Associations Network
TFG Transitional Federal Government
ICU/UIC Islamic Courts Union/Union of Islamic Courts
UN United Nations
UNDP Development Programme
UNHCR United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees
URAP Urban Refugee Assistance Programme
USA States of America

viList of Figures
Figure 1: Map of Kenya …………………………………………………………………….. 20
Figure 2: Table of FGD Participants ………………………………………………………... 35




























viiAbstract
It seems trendy for current studies to argue that the term refugee is no more than a policy
category which does not reflect the circumstances of the people that it subsumes. Such studies
further argue that the circumstances of refugees are not necessarily different from those of
local populations. This study argues that theoretical positions emanating from such
observations do not have a universal application as illustrated in Nairobi where the term
refugee is not merely a policy category or legal label but also experiential. Understanding the
concept refugee is very much an outcome of empirical enterprise which locates those who
bear the refugee status in specific contexts. The study draws attention to cases of targeted
rape, raids, exclusionary discourses epitomised by negative stereotyping and xenophobia as
well as refoulement which are specifically aimed at refugees in Nairobi. The refugee status is
intertwined with other variables such as refugees’ ethnic, national and religious identities in
ways that restrict inclusion of refugees into the host country.

As a gendered experience, exile impacts on intra-household dynamics and transforms gender
roles and relations within refugee households in ways that are simultaneously enabling and
challenging for refugee women. Although local women also experience Sexual and Gender-
Based Violence (SGBV), for refugee women this intersects with the vulnerability that the
refugee status entails resulting in refugee women being abused even by police officers and
officials who are tasked to protect them thus leaving them with limited channels for recourse.
SGBV thus becomes salient because of its targeted nature. Emphasised in the study is the fact
that refugee women are heterogeneous such that it is more appropriate to refer to refugee
women’s experiences rather than the refugee woman experience.

Exile as occupation of marginal space is however not solely about constraints as it also
creates opportunities and possibilities that may not have been available to the women prior to
flight. Contradictory as it may seem, the refugee status is mediated by the same variables that
lead to exclusion at a macro level in ways that facilitate inclusion at a micro, interpersonal
level characterised by interaction between refugee women and locals as fellow congregants
or as neighbours who share the same plight of poverty in Nairobi’s slums. This is coupled
with refugee women’s agency by which they convert obstacles into resources and create
space for themselves in a country which advocates encampment and expects refugees to
reside in the designated areas. Through their own agency, refugee women are able to
navigate structural barriers meant to deter integration in ways that demonstrate that the
viiiabsence of an official integration policy does not necessarily deter integration; individual
agency has a countervailing impact on measures instituted to deter integration.

Zusammenfassung
Entgegen den Argumenten, die den Begriff Flüchtling als eine einfache politische Kategorie
darstellen, argumentiert die Studie, dass der Begriff Flüchtling empirisch begründet werden
muss. Die Studie konzentriert sich auf Flüchtlingsfrauen und nimmt somit eine
Genderperspektive ein. Im Mittelpunkt stehen die Erfahrungen von Flüchtlingsfrauen in
Kenia, die sich eigenständig in Nairobi, an Siedlungsrändern von Flüchtlingslagern
angesiedelt haben. Hierbei werden die unterschiedlichen Faktoren, die Integration
bestimmen, betont. Dies betrifft die politischen, rechtlichen, ökonomischen sowie
soziokulturellen Dimensionen von Integration. Ein besonders relevanter Aspekt der Arbeit ist,
dass diese Dimensionen von Integration gleichzeitig ab- und unabhängig voneinander
gedacht werden. Die Ergebnisse der Studie zeigen, dass sich der Begriff der Integration nur
mit Hilfe holistischer Konzepte erschließt, die diese gegenseitigen Verknüpfungen
berücksichtigen.

Die Studie fokussiert die Erfahrungen der Flüchtlingsfrauen, die sie im Lager und vor dem
Hintergrund von Repatriierungsvorhaben gemacht haben. Die Grundannahme der Studie ist
es, dass Flüchtlinge zwar im Allgemeinen schwierige Lebenssituationen zu bewältigen haben,
Flüchtlingsfrauen jedoch in besonderem Maß betroffen sind. Dabei sind Genderaspekte und
der Sozialstatus von Frauen im afrikanischen Kontext von besonderer Bedeutung.
Flüchtlingsfrauen sind aufgrund ihres Geschlechts, ihres Altes und ihrer Sozialposition mit
speziellen Situationen konfrontiert. Viele Flüchtilingsfrauen erleben sexuelle Belästigungen
und sind Opfer von Gewalttätigkeit. Diese Aspekte verschärfen die allgemeine
Verwundbarkeit der Flüchtlingsfrauen zusätzlich. Aufgrund dieser geteilten Erfahrungen von
SGBV unter Flüchtlingsfrauen, sind die Erfahrungen der Flüchtlinge als genderspezifisch zu
bezeichnen. Genderspezifizischer Gewalttätigkeit (SGBV) bleibt ein sich über Zeit und Raum
wiederholendes Phänomen in den Erfahrungen der Flüchtlingsfrauen.

Diese Studie hebt hervor, dass Integration durch subjektive Faktoren gekennzeichnet ist.
Diese Faktoren sind übersetzt in die unterschiedlichen Erfahrungen der Flüchtlingsfrauen
und abhängig von ihren ethnischen, kulturellen und politischen Hintergründen. Diese
unterschiedlichen Situationen berücksichtigend, zeigt sich Integration als ein Wertekonzept,
ix

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