Changing opportunities: refugees and host communities in western Tanzania
This paper is part of a larger project which explores the socioeconomic and political implications of the refugee presence for host communities in western Tanzania. The project examines the rational ways in which local populations responded to unforeseen changes in their lives. The research highlights the ways in which this local political context fits into an increasingly interconnected global environment. The current paper focuses on changing opportunities faced by host communities. The influx of refugees created a new context in which hosts devised strategies to gain access to incoming resources and to maintain access to their own resources. Differing strategies and structures allowed some hosts to benefit, while others became worse off. In the end, Tanzanian hosts developed ways to cope with negative aspects of the refugee presence while taking advantage of positive opportunities.