Livelihood networks and decision-making among Congolese young people in formal and informal refugee contexts in Uganda


Refugee young people who are without their biological parents are often assumed to be among the most disempowered members of displaced populations. This paper interrogates this assumption by exploring Congolese young people’s access to decision-making in a variety of household contexts in Kampala and Kyaka II refugee settlement, western Uganda. Using a network approach to household and family, research findings reveal shrinking networks, increasing delinkage between household and family, and a greater importance of households in the refugee context. These changes have resulted in the advent of households headed by young people and composed of young peers, as well as an increasing number of young people who are members of households outside of traditional family networks. Contrary to assumptions in much of the refugee literature, policy and programming, young people in these situations have greater access to decision-making at household, community and policy levels, thus showing that conflict-induced displacement has created opportunities as well as challenges for some refugee young people.

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