Case Study Summary

Promoting Social Cohesion Through Climate Awareness in Refugee and Hosting Communities in Mahama Sector

Regional Hub: Africa
Country: Rwanda
Action for Climate Empowerment Element: Public Awareness

Refugee camps in the Mahama sector have severely affected the environment in the Kirehe district in Rwanda. Intense pressure on the land has resulted in land degradation, risking social tensions between displaced and host communities, and aggravating the adverse effects of climate injustice. 

In this case study, the CCE initiative being researched aims to enhance the social cohesion of established and new communities in and around a refugee camp. The initiative seeks to support an inclusive coexistence among communities through sustainable land management for climate change mitigation and adaptation. As part of this initiative, a campaign was implemented in 2022 to build awareness of climate change’s impacts and solutions, including deforestation, land rehabilitation, agroforestry, and through distributing and training on Improved Cook Stoves (ICS) and alternative hut-building materials.

This case study will be conducted by a team of two researchers from the Rural Environment and Development Organization (REDO), one researcher from the University of Bamberg, and one researcher from the Protestant Institute of Arts and Social Sciences (PIASS) in Rwanda. The researchers will examine refugee and host communities’ perceptions of climate change and environmental effects in and around Rwanda’s Mahama Refugee Camp. The study aims to provide a better understanding of how to support the social and economic inclusion of newly arriving communities without sacrificing the survival needs of host communities to foster solidarity and mutual understanding. Using semi-structured interviews, the researchers will engage participants from refugee and host communities who received ICS and alternative hut-building materials training. The research will help evaluate how participants have benefited from the initiative and their areas of concern. Thus, this study will provide information about how to enhance abilities to handle conflicts between host and displaced communities in climate change-impacted areas.

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