Environment & Urbanization

World leading environmental and urban studies journal

Refugees in cities: grassroots researchers shed light on basic needs

Anna Walnycki

International Institute for Environment and Development



Uganda has a progressive national refugee policy that grants freedom of movement, the right to work and rights to basic services, enabling refugees to pursue livelihoods in cities and beyond traditional camps. However, in reality many urban refugees face challenges in accessing basic services, which deserve further attention. IIED is working with a grassroots refugee organization, Young African Refugees for Integral Development (YARID), to train refugees to gather data on the experiences of displaced communities in Kampala. This unique approach provides in-depth understanding of the everyday lives of refugees in the city, and of how their needs differ and overlap with the host populations’. The data makes a valuable contribution to debates around urban refugees, the role grassroots actors could play in more inclusive planning processes, and how to deliver equitable access to basic services for all.


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