MA in Human Security and Peacebuilding alumna Jane Lawson has published her Royal Roads thesis in the UNHCR’s Policy Development and Evaluation Service web-based series New Issues in Refugee Research.
The series highlights research papers focusing on refugee, humanitarian and migration issues. Acknowledging refugees and giving them a voice is at the heart of Jane’s thesis. She spent seven months in Africa in 2010, first in Uganda then Liberia researching the impact of refugee camp peace programs, which address life skills such as conflict resolution, communication and self-esteem, on post-conflict reconstruction. Aid in refugee camps is very focused on the immediate needs of people — food, water, shelter and health care topping the list, Jane says. These are vital services, but you can't discount the person's long-term needs, she adds. When people are spending on average of 12 years in a refugee camp they lose out on opportunities for higher education and careers, placing them at a disadvantage when they are repatriated. Jane's research revealed insight into program development and highlighted the long-term effects of refugee programming during a refugee/returnee cycle. Her work shows how innovative programming can address key challenges in building self-reliance and non-violent communities.
You can read Jane's paper here.