Practitioners from Dignity Kwanza – Community Solutions and researchers from Leiden University collaborated in their study of Congolese and Burundian refugees in Dar es Salaam. The Tanzanian case study is based on the stories and experiences of over 80 people.
TRAFIG at the “In Dialogue” Symposium organised by Indiana University
On 18/19 March 2022, colleagues involved in the TRAFIG project contribute to Indiana University’s “In Dialogue” Symposium, which focusses on transnational dynamics and repercussions of the movement of displaced peoples between Africa and Europe. In a session on “Constrained transnationalism: Experiences of displacement and ongoing limbo between Africa and Europe” Catherina Wilson (Leiden University), Janemary Ruhundwa (Dignity Kwanza), Benjamin Etzold (BICC), Markus Rudolf (BICC), Simone Christ (formerly BICC) and Pietro Cingolani (FIERI) will share insights from TRAFIG research in Tanzania, Ethiopia, Italy, the Netherlands and Germany.
By Catherina Wilson (Leiden University)
Letting it be: Congolese in The Netherlands
On a cold, winter afternoon in early 2021, I visited Philo (all names have been anonymized), a Congolese lady, at her place. We had been introduced by an acquaintance a couple of months before. Around the same time, I was to start research on Congolese migrants in The Netherlands and I was eager to interview Philo for this purpose. During previous encounters, she had shown interest in participating. Read more
Local connections for local solutions: Lessons learned in Tanzania
Available in English and Swahili
Dar es Salaam is Tanzania’s largest city with a population of around 6.7 million people. Amongst them are approximately ten thousand vulnerable migrants who find themselves in refugee-like situations. Most of these vulnerable migrants are forced to live ‘underground’ because they do not have a government-issued permit to live outside of refugee camps. They nevertheless take their chances to build a productive life in the city, even if they must live covertly.
In these situations, local connections are crucial: Without local connections and/or legal status, these urban refugees have to hide their identity in the city and risk living their lives in a perpetual state of marginalisation, ... Read more
Figurations of Displacement in and beyond Tanzania
Reflections on protracted displacement and translocal connections of Congolese and Burundian refugees in Dar es Salaam
This working paper investigates the livelihoods, trajectories, networks and self-generated opportunities of vulnerable migrants in refugee-like situations in Dar es Salaam. Its main purpose is to arrive at a deeper understanding of protracted displacement through a ‘figurational approach’, which stresses the networks and the interdependencies of urban refugees in Dar es Salaam, across Tanzania, and across national borders.
Refugees’ social relations do not unfold in a vacuum but are shaped by the regimes of aid and asylum that govern their lives. In a context of constant fear of imprisonment and deportation, this... Read more
I wish I could do more
Meet Bishara Msallam - Program Officer (Legal and Community Empowerment) at DIGNITY Kwanza - and find out more about her experience, her motivation and her work in the TRAFIG project.
I am Bishara Msallam, an advocate working with DIGNITY Kwanza, a Tanzanian NGO that is mandated to safeguard and promote the human dignity of refugees and other marginalized populations for the attainment of their social and economic development. Through legal services, community empowerment programs and advocacy, DIGNITY Kwanza contributes to the efforts to create and foster a refugee regime that effectively responds to the needs of refugees, host government and host community.
Photo: Bishara Msallam
I have been performing my duties as legal counsel, sitting behind my d... Read more
Published in the OECD Blog series 'Development matters'
It is primarily the responsibility of states to provide durable solutions to people in protracted displacement. A state-centred approach, however, risk underestimating or even disregarding the ambitions and capacities of displaced people themselves. In a contribution to the OECD blog series ‘Development matters’ Martin Wagner and Caitlin Katsiaficas (both ICMPD) and Benjamin Etzold (BICC) present some insights on TRAFIG research on the mobility of displaced people in the Middle East and East Africa and the role of networks in their everyday lives. They conclude that many refugees rely first and foremost on their own human, social and financial capital to build a more secure future.
Starting up and starting over
How networking can enable refugee entrepreneurs to regain livelihoods in East Africa
Establishing a secure livelihood is a key element that enables refugees to rebuild their lives and overcome protracted dis placement situations. Not only can a steady source of income help refugees afford housing, food and other basic neces sities, it can also facilitate their integration by connecting them with others in the community. While some seek jobs in existing organisations or businesses in the formal or informal economy, others create their own enterprises from scratch.
This policy brief shares TRAFIG findings from two key refugee-hosting countries in Africa, Ethiopia and Tanzania, and illustrates how refugees are using connectivity to create livelihood oppor... Read more
Contribution by the TRAFIG project consortium to the Virtual Space of the 2021 High-Level Officials Meeting and the Digital Platform for the Global Compact on Refugees
An increasing number of refugees – 16 million in 2020, or 4 million more than in 2016 – find themselves in long-term situations of vulnerability, dependency and legal insecurity, in which they lack, or are actively denied, opportunities to rebuild their lives after displacement. With current policies struggling to find solutions to such protracted displacement situations, TRAFIG is working to identify solutions that are better tailored to the needs and capacities of displaced persons. With a special focus on networks and mobility, TRAFIG’s research supports Objective 2 (Enhance refugee self-reliance) and Objective 3 (... Read more
Learning from the past
Protracted displacement in the post-World War II period
This working paper examines the history of the search for solutions to protracted displacement. Focusing specifically on the Horn of Africa, East Africa, the Middle East and South Asia, the paper analyses past policy responses that explicitly or implicitly address situations of extended exile. In addition, the paper examines the potential of translocal mobility and connectivity as an individual- or household-level solution to displacement.
The concern to find solutions for long-term displacement situations has been a key driver for the evolution of the international refugee protection regime ever since its initiation in the interwar period. Yet, only more recently have these efforts crystallised around... Read more
This case study provides an overview on protracted displacement in the Horn of Africa and aims to uncover evidence on transnational and translocal connectivity and mobility of displaced populations in the region. This internal background document contributed to the formulation of TRAFIG Working Paper no. 2 “Learning from the past. Protracted displacement in the post-World War II period.” within TRAFIG Work Package 2: “Learning from the past”.
The objective of this case study is to review academic and literature issued by relevant actors in the field of protracted displacement such as international organisations, NGOs or governments to answer the questions whether and how transnational and translocal connectivity and mobility contributes to self-reliance and resilience of displaced pop... Read more
Governing protracted displacement
An analysis across global, regional and domestic contexts
This working paper explores the governance of protracted displacement across global, regional and domestic levels in the context of the project “Transnational Figurations of Displacement” (TRAFIG). The multiple contemporary crises that have led to forced displacement show not only the limits of a tight definition of ‘refugee’, but also highlight the gaps in international protection frameworks. A significant number of those forcibly displaced are in protracted displacement situations.
This paper is an effort to make sense of the legislative and policy frameworks of protection that apply globally, regionally and domestically, and the way in which these frameworks facilitate or hinder solutions... Read more
As a child under my parents care, I was taught and told to do good and avoid the bad. In a way I felt my future was drawn for me by my parents and I was guided towards ‘better world’. But for other young people in Africa, this is not the case. The presence of negative forces has driven many young people out of their countries, forced them to abandon the world they knew and in which they grew up, forced them to abandon the surroundings that were supposed to introduce them to adulthood and a ‘better world’ (in their countries). Instead, these youth have been forced into a new world that is completely unknown to them, this sudden move has tarnished their future, turned their lives upside down and brought confusion because they were not prepared for this type of big changes. But how can they b... Read more