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Department of Anthropology

Academic Staff

Publication details for Professor Gina Porter

Porter, Gina , Hampshire, Kate, Kyei, Peter, Adjaloo, Michael Rapoo, George & Kilpatrick, Kate (2008). Linkages between livelihood opportunities and refugee-host relations: learning from the experiences of Liberian camp-based refugees in Ghana. Journal of Refugee Studies 21(2): 230-252.

Author(s) from Durham

Abstract

This paper combines recent livelihoods approaches to refugee studies with a social resilience framework to explore the interlinkages between refugee–host relations and refugee coping strategies in the Buduburam camp in Ghana. The reported experiences of camp residents and of the people with whom they interact in their efforts to make a living (NGO staff, government officials, traders etc.) illustrate the complex interplay between personal networks, livelihoods and broader relations between refugee and host populations. We draw particular attention to language skills, diaspora linkages and the impact of illicit and/or innovative livelihood strategies of refugees. Despite the enormous emphasis refugees in the camp place on earning their own living, some groups are less able or less willing than others to build the social networks to the host population that might allow them access to regular employment. Other factors, including the massive size of the camp population, the deep poverty of Gomoa district where the camp is situated, and the mismatch between the urban character of the majority of the refugee population and local (agricultural) labour demand, contribute to less than optimal relations with the host population.