Focus Group Discussion Report Relocation of Congolese Refugees in Lunda Norte, Angola, June - July 2017
This report summarizes the key findings of the focus group discussion conducted with 145 refugees from the Democratic Republic of Congo who fled violence in the Kasaï region to Lunda Norte, Angola, on their relocation from temporary reception centres to a new site. The discussions revealed a general agreement by the refugees to the principles and organization of the relocation, but also hesitations to relocate from a relatively urban area to a rural setting, mainly due to negative rumours and concerns related to livelihood opportunities and freedom of movement. As a by-product, the consultations gave valuable insight to the underlying fears, wishes and hopes of the refugees with regards to the Lóvua site, giving impetus to adjust the related plans and communication strategy accordingly.
Between April and 8 July 2017, violence and ethnic tensions in the Kasai Province of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) generated an influx of over 29,000 Congolese seeking asylum in Angola’s Lunda Norte province. The refugees are hosted in two
temporary reception centres, Cacanda and Mussungue, which are operating beyond their maximum capacity in conditions that do not allow for adequate protection and assistance.
Some 62% of the refugees live with the host community. The Government of Angola allocated an extensive rural site to accommodate the refugees in mid-and longer term, approximately 90 km from Dundo and the reception centres, which are situated in the vicinity of the Dundo town that has a population of some 30,000 people. The new site in Lóvua is under development.
UNHCR undertook a series of the focus group discussions (FGDs) with refugees living in the reception centres on the relocation of the refugee population to Lóvua. The FGDs were coordinated by UNHCR and conducted with the support of Ministry for Assistance and Social Reinsertion (MINARS), Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS), UNFPA, UNICEF and WFP.
Focus group discussions (FDG) were undertaken to consult the refugee community in the reception centres on (1) the guiding principles and logistics of the relocation plan; (2) the shelter package foreseen for refugees to build family shelters, latrine and shower on their allocated plot; and (3) to identify possible community-based support mechanisms in the framework of the relocation process.
The refugee population is comprised of some 75% of women and children and 6% of persons with specific needs, including over 200 unaccompanied and separated children and several hundred single-headed households (mainly female headed). Elderly represent some 1,5% of the population. It was seen important to incorporate persons of all these categories into the consultations.
Fifteen focus group discussions (FDG) were conducted with 145 refugees to explore their views, including ten FGDs held in Mussungue reception centre on 23-24 June 2017 and five FDGs in Cacanda reception centre on 8 July 2017. The FGDs were held separately for female and male refugees in three distinct population groups: adolescents (13-17 years old), adults (18-59 years old) and elderly (60+) to obtain information of each category’s specific needs.
Taking into consideration the ethnic tensions within the refugee population, mitigation against participants being uncomfortable with expressing their thoughts freely was required. To this effect, generally two participants of each category were identified and requested to bring their friends within the set FGD requirements. Stock taking was undertaken after each FDG to ensure persons with specific needs were included.