A Mixed Methods Analysis of Social Capital of Liberian Refugee Women in Ghana
Alice Boateng (University of Nevada, Reno) [BIO]
“I think help should be now, and so we count on you to carry our cries, our concerns to the outside world – America, wherever – so that we here will be remembered.”
(Liberian Refugee Woman)
Refugee issues have been studied extensively in the social work literature. However, the experiences of refugees who are living in camps in Africa have been given limited attention. The above words, spoken to me by a Liberian refugee woman in a refugee camp in Ghana, reflect the results of my study. The proposed paper reports on a mixed methods study of Liberian refugee women in Ghana that examined the role and impact of social capital or social relations on the women’s well-being. Three types of social capital were examined, including bonding, (relations with immediate family members and close friends), bridging (relations beyond the camp community), and linking social capital (relations between participants and community-based/external organizations).
The findings suggested that the participants possessed closed networks within the camp, rather than external networks beyond it. Hence, participants lack bridging and linking social capital, both of which help enhance the capacity to discover new productive opportunities, may promote economic advancement, and relationships. These findings indicate that refugee women may benefit from policies and programs that seek to both strengthen existing and develop new social capital. Evidence from the study suggests that as much as the community-based organizations at the camp are promoting the principle of refugee self-reliance pending repatriation, much more needs to be done in the form of permanent programs and projects that could be self-sustaining.
Patron: President of Austria, Dr. Heinz Fischer
KCTOS: Knowledge, Creativity and