Refugee livelihoods in Kampala, Nakivale and Kyangwali refugee settlements: patterns of engagement with the private sector

Drawing from preliminary fieldwork undertaken between February and March 2013, this working paper presents provisional findings regarding refugees’ livelihoods and interactions with the private sector and markets in Kampala, Nakivale and Kyangwali refugee settlements in Uganda. The paper sketches out the diversity of livelihoods strategies employed by the refugees, and reveals their different patterns of engagement with local and national markets. In particular, the paper shows that refugees’ economic activities at all three sites are deeply nested in the multiple layers of the host economies. These initial observations, furthermore, illustrate the vital role played by personal and community social networks in linking refugees with private sector actors in Uganda and sub-regions. As a way forward, the paper concludes by identifying several intriguing themes to be investigated in continuing field research. 

The field work on which this paper is based is part of the on-going work of the Humanitarian Innovation Project, where Dr Omata is a Research Officer and Dr Kaplan is a Research Associate. Find out more about the project here:

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