Psychosocial Support and Protection for Refugee and Host Communities in Uganda: A Needs Assessment

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Gorret KugonzaSchool of Social Sciences, Department of Social Work, Mountains of the Moon University, Fort Portal, Uganda,

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Shepherd MutsvaraPhD Candidate, The Pedagogical University of Krakow, Krakow, Poland and Ghent University, Ghent, Belgium,

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Introduction: Established in 1964 and hosting over 76,000 refugees, Rwamwanja Refugee Settlement in Western Uganda was the focus of this study of existing structures and systems providing for the psychosocial and protection needs of both refugees and host communities.

Methodology: The cross-sectional study with both qualitative and quantitative elements used focus group discussions (fgd s) and in-depth interviews with key informants working with organisations supporting refugees and host communities. Further, an individual household assessment of refugees (n=200) and host communities (n=100) was carried out using a free-listing questionnaire.

Results: The traumatic situations of both refugees and host communities has led to high levels of fear, mood changes, stress and anxiety. This is further compounded by stressful situations such as competition for meagre resources and weak community-based interventions for psychosocial support and protection.

Conclusion: Community resource mobilisation, counselling and mainstreaming psy cho social support through beneficiary participation is warranted. The humanitarian organisations and the Ugandan government need to establish specialised psychosocial support systems and protection strategies aimed at addressing the psychological needs of both communities.

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