Xenophobia, and Xenophobia’s Effect on Livelihood Opportunities: A Study Concerning South Sudanese Refugees in Kampala, Uganda.


Publication date



Oslo and Akershus University College of Applied Sciences

Document type


Master i sosialfag


The overall objective of this study is to explore xenophobia, and how xenophobia affects South Sudanese refuges’ livelihood opportunities, in Kampala, Uganda. Uganda have over the last four years received over one million refugees from South Sudan. The progressive and open refugee policy of the country allows for refugees to settle and to work all over the country. Many refugees from South Sudan have hence made the choice of trying to live and create livelihoods in Kampala, becoming a part of the growing urban refugee population of the city. Being a refugee in a big city poses challenges, some which arise in the social space between the local population and the refugees themselves. The research asked questions relating to the notion and nature of the phenomenon of xenophobia, as well as exploring lived experiences, especially relating to livelihood opportunities for South Sudanese Refugees. The study used a qualitative approach. Informants of the study were South Sudanese refugees, local citizens and key informants from different offices handling refugee issues. A total of 20 interviews were used to build the thesis, these were both semi-structured and unstructured qualitative interviews. Informal conversations also informed the study. Participants were accessed through getting in contact with key contacts and gate-keepers within organizations and the local community of Kawempe division in Kampala. Thematic analysis was applied to sort out and analyse the data. The findings show how xenophobia is experienced, as well as what kind of different xenophobic tendencies different informants of the study have had experience with. The findings also show how the refugee informants of the study have applied different ways of coping with the experiences of xenophobia, and how they have, in different ways, adjusted their livelihoods to the challenges they face. Additionally, the findings shed light on other factors that makes life and livelihood creation challenging in the urban context of Kampala. The findings suggest that some refugees have had to make different limiting adjustments to their lives, like taking their children out of school, and cutting back on meals. Furthermore, there are worrying findings regarding corruption in service provision on multiple levels. The findings are relevant to actors and stakeholders interested in the Urban refugee context; this may be other researchers, social workers, and service providers including international organs concerned with refugee matters, NGOs and the government of Uganda.




Permanent URL (for citation purposes)

  • https://hdl.handle.net/10642/6319