230587 African women's experience of refugee services: A social Justice issue

Wednesday, November 10, 2010 : 1:00 PM - 1:15 PM

Hadidja Nyiransekuye, PhD in Social Work , Department of African and African American Studies, Metropolitan State College of Denver, Denver, CO
The purpose of this study was to uncover the meaning that refugee women from the Great Lakes region of Africa give to being recipients of refugee services. Keeping with the premises of social constructivism (Gergen, 2001) as a theoretical framework for understanding refugee women's experiences, data were collected on twelve women from Rwanda Burundi and Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, using in-depth interviews. The choice of the three countries of origin for the participants was based on the need for consistency in maintaining a cultural-linguistic cluster, and the fact that the refugee women in the study have known the same wars and fled to the same refugee camps. The sample size, on the other hand, was determined by the need for information-rich cases for the phenomenon under study. The analysis followed Moustakas's use of Van Kaam's phenomenological approach to data analysis (Moustakas, 1994). Findings revealed two underlying threads: the fear of annihilation and the need for self-preservation that permeate the four moments of the phenomenon of receiving services. Those moments are pre-flight conditions, flight and first asylum conditions, final resettlement, and appreciation of services received in the final resettlement. The key constructs of powerlessness and cultural differences were shown to have an impact on the experience of receiving services. This paper explores some of the themes that emerged from the four moments, as they clearly relate to these refugee women's sense of social justice in accessing and receiving health care and other services for themselves and their children.

Learning Areas:
Advocacy for health and health education
Diversity and culture
Program planning
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
1)Identify clients who are differently acculturated 2) Assess the impact cultural luggage may have on refugee clients' ability to access services 2)Demonstrate the ability to offer alternative choices to clients 3)Formulate procedures that increase clients' ability to be self-sufficient

Keywords: Access and Services, Refugees

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am the primary and sole researcher on this study. It was part of my dissertation research done in 2007
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.