Multiculturalism of Tanzanian Refugees in the Information Society and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR)

OBODORUKU, Benedicta (2017) Multiculturalism of Tanzanian Refugees in the Information Society and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). Paper presented at: IFLA WLIC 2017 – Wrocław, Poland – Libraries. Solidarity. Society. in Session S20 - Satellite Meeting: Library Services for Multicultural Populations Sections. In: From refugee to citizen-integration: Policies and actions of cultural Institutions, 16-17 August 2017, Berlin (Germany).

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Language: English (Original)
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Abstract

Multiculturalism of Tanzanian Refugees in the Information Society and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR)

The universal increase in the number of refugees is of fundamental concern to the United Nations (UN) and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) at both the national and global levels. Millions of persons have been displaced because of convoluted conflicts. The problem is severe in nations such as Burundi, Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Rwanda and Somalia, where the right to sufficient food, as well as protection, might be inadequate or non-existent, and where the basic human rights are likewise not valued. This exploratory study presented a succinct history of the world’s refugees – predominantly, refugees from the above-mentioned countries and the history of Tanzania, which is the hosting country of these refugees. This study examined the information on adequate food for refugees, information on security/protection for refugees and information on camps/shelters for refugees in Tanzania. This research also investigated how refugees in Tanzania fit into the information society and examined the multiculturalism of refugees by reviewing cultural diversity and cultural identity relating to various ethnic groups in camp by reviewing the following questions: (1) what communication is there for refugees? How are they given? And what are the sources of communication (e.g. written communication)? Who gives information to refugees? (2) What is the culture in the camp? Is there diversity in the camp? Are there social group in the camp? (3) Are refugees identified based on culture? (4) What is gossip like - are they depressed? Do refugees have foreign languages (sign base language)? What do they do for entertainment (e.g. little computers to educate themselves)? (5) What are the sources of information? Who does the cooking? What happens to the food? Do refugees cook? Is the bathroom safe? Are there signs for refugees (safety sign)? As a followup to my doctoral research study, this research employed content analysis and incorporated data from my doctoral research, which investigated refugees’ information seeking in Nyarugusu Camp, in Tanzania with the endorsement of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and the Tanzanian government. The research was concentrated on one-on-one interviews with refugees and with the UNHCR’s staff (in Tanzania as well as in the United States of America [USA], New York). Furthermore, the research study carried out focus group discussions with refugees and an unobtrusive observation of the Nyarugusu Camp. There were a total of 70 refugees (22 women and 48 men), who participated in the research study. Five UNHCR staff members, together in the field in Tanzania and in the USA, were interviewed. This study presented several findings based on diverse studies, literature, and archival materials (videos and pictures) that were examined and analyzed to demonstrate the inadequacy of food, security/protection and information on camps/shelters for refugees, information on cultural diversity in camp and ethnic and social groups in camp and how it could persuade the international community to provide adequate food, eradicate ethnic and cultural discrimination and provide information for refugees in Tanzania.

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