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​Project Type //


Chronology //


Location // 

Kyangwali refugee camp, Southwest Uganda

Kiziba refugee camp, Rwanda

Kakuma refugee camp, Kenya

Team/Stakeholders // 

Principal Investigator - Nerea Amoros Elorduy 

Research assistants Uganda – Moses Magala, Jackson Opolot, Tiffany Kaitezzi, Justicia Tegyeka

Research assistants Rwanda – Shaffy Murwanashyaka, Yves Twizeyimana, Flavia Gwiza, Mugabo Medard, Frank Bagenzi, Aziz Farid

Research assistants Kenya - Etta Madette, Aysha Esajee, Dolphine Kerubo

Funding //

BAICE travelling Scholarship


During the establishment of refugee camps in Uganda, Rwanda and Kenya, UNHCR and the different host Governments provide initial housing infrastructure that range from poles and tarps to actual tented structures that teams of technicians assembled (or helped refugees assemble) within the boundaries of the camps. A weeks or months later, refugees begin to appropriate these structures building mud constructions with tarp or iron sheet roofs that corresponded with the initial three by four metres footprint of their shelters. These semi-permanent materials and the pass of time reinforced the tacit assumption that the camp will become a home and allowed and/or pressed refugees to make self-improvements to the shelters, transforming them into ‘semi-permanent’ homes with attached kitchens and extra rooms, fences, kitchen gardens and other new features. 


The evolution of the physical spaces of these self-built homes – the number of rooms, style of openings, furniture, flooring, ceiling, and the exterior spaces – depend on many variables, including: time, host government policies, space and resource availability, cultural backgrounds and traditions, and number of family members (their ages and capacities). The illustrations above show spatial variability of the homes using as a lenses the cultural backgrounds and origins of different refugees. 

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