Coping with displacement: problems and responses in camps for the internally displaced in Kitgum, northern Uganda1

Displaced communities respond to the challenges and losses of their changed circumstances by drawing on their remaining resources. The challenge for those working in such contexts is how to effectively combine these community initiatives with their own organisational resources. This paper reports a study of 112 residents of four camps for internally displaced Ugandans. The respondents were primarily concerned with the structural, social and economic difficulties that affected them. Those problems most frequently identified were the fundamental issues of food, health and poverty, which were perceived to stem primarily from the way the camps were structured and resourced. Respondents described four main response strategies: assistance from others (including neighbours, relatives, agencies and community organisations); work and income generation; personal characteristics (e.g. determination, ability to work hard); and social support.

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Horn, Rebecca