Conflict-Induced Displacement: The Lived Experience of Suffering bythe Congolese Refugees in Uganda


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A phenomenological study was undertaken to consider the essence of the lived experience of displacement as perceived by a group of ten Congolese refugees exiled in Uganda. Semi-structured individual interviews found displacement to be an experience of suffering from loss; primarily loss of home. Clearly, the “home” articulated in refugee narratives was an imagined home; imagined as the ideal place where security, love, connectedness, respect define life. In addition, Congolese refugees viewed displacement as an experience of suffering from separation, restless wandering and estrangement. Participants also reported that displacement had a negative impact on their lives. This study tied human needs theory with constructivism and framed the latter as both a driver (of conflict and flight), but also as the basis of reconstruction (needs satisfaction) that is made possible because the imagined “home” is a construct that can be reconstructed.The findings of this study point to how some refugee services might be structured (i.e. giving people a sense of home is not necessarily keeping them in a state of suspended limbo with perpetual expectations of returning to their former home, but home can be reconstructed even in the refugee locations).

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Publication Date

February 2019

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Hervé Muyo, Ph. D. is an associate professor at Université Pédagogique Nationale (UPN) and Université Catholique du Congo (UCC) in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. He is also a visting professor at Université Catholique de Bukavu (UCB). He is the current vice director of Centre d’Etudes et de Promotion des Recherches en Intervention Socio-Economiques et Socio-Politiques Père Hardy Développement à l’Université Pédagogique Nationale (UPN/CEPRISE/PHD), Kinshasa, DR Congo. Besides, he is a consultant with many humanitarian international organizations that work in the DR Congo and around the world such as Christian Aid and Deutsche Zusammernarbeit (BGF).His research interest is on conflict and migration, gender violence, conflict prevention, peace building, mediation, negotiation et leadership, emotional intelligence, women leadership and empowerment.