The latest addition to the RSC’s Rethinking Refuge website contributes to the theme ‘Rethinking refugees as actors’. It is written by Delina Abadi, an Ethiopian researcher working on the project ‘Responses to Crisis Migration in Uganda and Ethiopia: Researching the Role of Local Actors in Secondary Cities’.
The article presents findings from recent research in Ethiopia which shows how traditional social groups created by women refugees can increase both self-reliance and integration with locals. These community groups, known locally as iddirs, offer a social support network for women refugees to discuss and resolve problems they face in their daily lives, and provide access to a shared savings scheme, increasing their economic resilience.
At a time when COVID-19 is restricting the effectiveness of international development efforts, these pre-existing local networks deserve wider recognition as invaluable assets in developing flourishing refugee communities, and greater investment by international donors to ensure they can continue to operate during government lockdowns.
Rethinking Refuge is an interdisciplinary platform that seeks to bridge the gap between scholarly research, policymaking, and public understanding to meaningfully engage with the challenge of forced displacement in the 21st century.