Fostering Social Capital as a Survival Strategy for the Banyamulenge Urban Refugees in Embakasi Central Sub-County, Nairobi-Kenya
Abstract: The purpose of this study was to investigate social capital and survival strategies among Banyamulenge urban refugees in Embakasi central sub-county, Nairobi, Kenya. The specific objectives were;to assess the role of community networking as a survival strategy among Banyamulenge urban refugees in Embakasi central sub-county and examine the influence of social welfare programs on the survival strategies among Banyamulenge urban refugees in Embakasi central sub-county. The study used the social capital theory that was advanced by Putnam (1995). With reference to the research methodology, a case study design and a mixed-method approach were used to get responses from the sampled population on socio-economic status and survival strategies among Banyamulenge urban refugees in Embakasi central sub-county. Data was collected using key informants who facilitated the exchange of information between NGO staff and the urban refugees’ community leaders- who knew more about the target population. Data was collected using focused group discussions and questionnaires. Both primary and secondary data were used in this study. From the findings, Majority of the respondents were found to be members of chamaa youth group and self-help groups. The majority of the respondent knew of the existence of social welfare organizations operating within their community. The majority of the respondents, 40 per cent, got food support from social welfare. Majority of respondents confessed that they were getting welfare support once in three month, followed by 13 per cent of the respondents who got welfare support once in a month. The study recommended that Kenyan government, in partnership with a humanitarian organization, should provide work permits to these urban refugees, that the safety policy from Embakasi authority should protect Banyamulenge urban refugees from social harassment, and lastly, the study recommended for a further area of studies on urban refugees in Nairobi Kenya.
Key Words: Survival Strategies, Urban refugees, Banyamulenge, Conflict, Social capital