Socio-economic challenges facing Sudanese women refugees in Kasarani Division, Nairobi and their coping mechanisms 2000-2011
Sudanese refugee women who settle in urban centers such as Kasarani in Nairobi are largely invisible unlike their encamped counterparts. Most scholarly work on urban refugees in Kenya and Sudanese women refugees in particular are based on secondary sources of data which are not supported by empirical evidence. The objectives of this study were: to establish the impact of Sudan civil war on Sudanese women, to investigate the socioeconomic challenges facing Sudanese refugee women in Kasarani division of Nairobi and, determine the coping mechanisms adopted by the Sudanese refugee women. This study was prompted by the realization that there is little information available on urban refugees in general and even much less on Sudanese refugee women in particular. The focus on Sudanese refugee women was because they, along with children, are the ones who greatly bear the brunt of war and conflict. In addition, women become the economic and social pillars of their dependants both within the nuclear and their extended families. The study used primary and secondary data. Secondary sources included books, scholarly journals and articles from the University of Nairobi's Department of History and Archaeology Library as well as Jomo Kenyatta Library. Primary sources included a sample of twenty refugee women and ten men in the area, who were targeted through snow ball technique. Data was collected using an unstructured interview guide and note taking for oral interviews. The data collected was then subjected to narrative analysis. The study established that Sudanese refugee women living in Kasarani Division of Nairobi experience a myriad of social and economic challenges including hunger, insecurity, discrimination and illiteracy. Subjected to refugeehood, the Sudanese women refugees have had to adapt to new environment and new survival techniques as they are forced to become the social and economic pillars of both their immediate and extended family members. The women cope socially through get-togethers, micro-economic activities, social learning and networking.