The Global Governed? Refugees as Providers of Protection and Assistance

The global governance of forced migration is generally used to refer to the response of governments and international organisations to displaced populations; rarely do we think of refugees as the providers of protection and assistance. Yet understanding the ways in which refugees themselves engage in forms of refugee-led social protection offers an opportunity to fundamentally reconceive support for the displaced in more sustainable and empowering ways.

This project involves inter-disciplinary, mixed methods, comparative research in Kenya and Uganda (across urban and rural areas) on the diverse and neglected ways in which refugees engage in the provision of protection and assistance to their own communities. Through ethnographic, historical, and quantitative research, it seeks to identify the diverse forms, scope, and functions of refugee-led social protection; to understand and explain the emergence and evolution of particular forms of refugee-led social protection; and to test the degree to which refugees’ sources of security are derived from external assistance or from their own community-led initiatives.

Alexander Betts
Professor of Forced Migration and International Affairs