Patriarchal family relationship under threat during forced migration. The case of Burundians in Mahama refugee camp, Rwanda
More details
Hide details
University of Rwanda, Kigali, Rwanda
IntraHealth, Kigali, Rwanda
Submission date: 2019-03-01
Final revision date: 2019-09-08
Acceptance date: 2019-09-08
Online publication date: 2019-09-23
Publication date: 2019-09-23
Health Psychology Report 2019;7(3):229-241
Patriarchal structure puts men in a position to rule, control, decide, and provide for the family and the house-hold. However, during forced migration, men’s resources and survival capacity are reduced and are dependent on humanitarian donors’ decisions. While the literature focuses on migrant men’s struggle to cope with life, little is known about how forced migration affects the existing relationships of couples from a patriarchal back-ground. This paper sheds light on this matter using the case of Burundian refugees received in Mahama Camp, Rwanda, since April 2015.

Participants and procedure:
Twenty-one men chosen through systematic and purposive sampling techniques were included in the study, of whom 10 were interviewed individually and 11 were approached in a focus group discussion (FGD). Five key informants also contributed to this study. This is a qualitative study during which data were collected using semi structured interview and FGD guides.

The results showed that forced migration brought changes in patriarchal family relationships as well as in tradi-tional gendered roles. Almost all the participants confirmed that in Mahama refugee camp, men were no longer providers for their families and one third specified that men were no longer heads of families. Rather, women found an opportunity to be breadwinners, providers, decision makers, and dominant. This new structure nega-tively affected the relationships of couples and family security.

The study suggested the creation of a special family promotion service within the camp, organisation of cam-paigns on gender equality and positive masculinity, and the establishment of spaces for men and women to work and produce rather than totally depending on the international community.

AP Human Geography (n.d.). AP Human Geography Outline. Retrieved from http://www.sps186.org/download....
[accessed May 6, 2019].
Asiyanbola, A. R. (2005). Patriarchy, male dominance, the role and women empowerment in Nigeria.
International Union for the Scientific Study of Population (IUSSP/UIESP) XXV International Popula-tion Conference Tours (pp. 18–23). France.
Basse, Y. O., & Kwizera, J. (2017). Norms and practices impeding gender equality in Burundian society. Dakar: Care International.
Bell, S., Alves, S., Silveirinha de Oliveira, E., & Zuin, A. (2010). Migration and land use change in Eu-rope: A review. Living Reviews in Landscape Research, 4, 1–49. Retrieved from www.livingreviews.org/lrlr-2010.
Bhugra, D., & Becker, M. (2005). Migration, cultural bereavement and cultural identity. World Psychia-try, 4, 18–24.
Choi, S. Y., & Peng, Y. (2016). Masculine compromise: Migration, family, and gender in China. Califor-nia: University of California Press.
Del Aguila, V. E. (2014). Being a man in transnational world. The masculinity and sexuality of migration. New York: Routledge.
Donaldson, M., & Howson, R. (2009). Men, migration and hegemonic masculinity. In M. Donaldson, R. Hibbins, R. Howson, & B. Pease (Eds.), Migrant men: Critical studies of masculinities and the migration experience (pp. 210–217). New York: Routledge.
Falch, A. (2010). Women’s political participation and influence in post-conflict Burundi and Nepal. Oslo: Peace Research Institute Oslo (PRIO).
Fry, W. M. (2016). Promoting positive male gender socialization among migrant male youth living in Ka-kuma refugee camp, Kenya: Applying appreciative inquiry to gender-based violence prevention ef-forts. PhD in public health dissertation. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina, Gillings School of Global Public Health.
Impunity Watch (2017). Policy brief. Masculinities, violence against women in leadership & participation in transitional societies: Burundi & Guatemala. Enhancing UNSCR1325 implementation. Syracuse, NY: Syracuse University.
Iyakaremye, I., & Mukagatare, C. (2016). Forced migration and sexual abuse: Experience of Congo-lese adolescent girls in Kigeme refugee camp, Rwanda. Health Psychology Report, 4, 261–271. https://doi.org/10.5114/hpr.20....
Kambarami, M. (2006). Femininity, sexuality and culture: patriarchy and female subordination in Zimba-bwe. South Africa: Africa Regional Sexuality Resource Centre.
Kanyangara, P. (2016). Conflict in Great Lakes Region. Root causes, dynamics and effects. African Centre for the Constructive Resolution of Disputes (ACCORD). Retrieved from www.accord.org.za/conflict-trends/conflict-great-lakes-region/ [accessed September 20, 2018].
Luthra, R., Platt, L., & Salamonska, J. (2018). Types of migration: The motivations, composition, and early integration patterns of “new migrants” in Europe. International Migration Review, 52, 368–406. https://doi.org/ 10.1111/imre.12293.
MIDIMAR (2017). Protection and assistance to refugees (Pamphlet). Kigali: Ministry of Disaster Man-agement and Refugees. Retrieved from www.midimar.gov.rw/fileadmin/templates/css/PROTECTION_AND_ASSISTANCE_TO_REFUGEES_PROJECT.pdf [accessed January 29, 2019].
Nyirahabimana, S. (2015). Effectiveness of divorce prevention mechanisms in Rwanda: assessment of court conciliation, family and umugoroba w’ababyeyi in Gasabo district. Kigali: University of Rwanda, Centre for Gender Studies.
Page, P. (1999). Masculinity in crisis? A study on the threat to masculinity identities through unem-ployment. Master thesis. National University of Ireland, Maynooth.
Prothmann, S. (2018). Migration, masculinity and social class: Insights from Pikine, Senegal. Interna-tional Migration, 56, 96–108. https://doi.org/10.1111/imig.1....
Republic of Rwanda (2016a). Law governing persons and family No. 32/2016 of 28/08/2016. Official Gazette No. 37 of 12/09/2016.
Republic of Rwanda (2016b). Rwanda demographic and health survey 2014–2015: Final report. Re-trieved from https://dhsprogram.com/pubs/pd....
Shyaka, A. (2008). Understanding the conflicts in the Great Lakes Region: An overview. Journal of African Conflicts and Peace Studies, 1, 5–12. https://doi.org/10.5038/2325-4....
Strijdom, G. H., Luttig, L. E., Ferreira, G. V., Kellerman, A. P., & Swart, H. (1997). The family and di-vorce. Marriage and family life in South Africa: Research priorities. Pretoria: HSRC.
Sultana, A. (2011). Patriarchy and women’s subordination: A theoretical analysis. Arts Faculty Journal, 4, 1–18. https://doi.org/10.3329/afj.v4....
Tunda, K. F. (2016). Refugees in Great Lakes Region. Retrieved from www.accord.org.za/conflict-trends/refugees-great-lakes-region/ [accessed September 30, 2018].
Umoh, S. H., & Adeyemi, H. (1990). Causes of divorce as perceived by students of tertiary institutions in Kwara State. Retrieved from www.unilorin.edu.ng/journals/education/ije/dec1990/CAUSES.
UNHCR (2018). Sustaining results. A 9-month post-deployment impact assessment of the Senior Pro-tection Officer (SGBV) in Mahama camp, Rwanda. Kigali: The UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR).
Copyright: © Institute of Psychology, University of Gdansk This is an Open Access journal, all articles are distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-SA 4.0) License (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/4.0/), allowing third parties to copy and redistribute the material in any medium or format and to remix, transform, and build upon the material, provided the original work is properly cited and states its license.
Journals System - logo
Scroll to top