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Government-Funded Settlement Programs for African Refugees Research Paper

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Updated: Nov 26th, 2021

Introduction

The world has experienced different crises that have resulted in the overwhelming displacement of people. The commonest causes leading to refugee influx include but are not limited to floods and wars of varying magnitudes. In Africa, for instance, the refugee problem is one of the worst experiences that the entire continent has ever faced in the twenty-first century. Many people have been exiled from their home countries, left with only one option; seeking asylum in neighboring foreign countries. Fresh and renewed internal wars in some African countries like the Somalia, Ethiopia, Sudan, Chad, The Democratic Republic of Congo, Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, among others have only added to the ever-increasing number of refugees (Miller, Mitchell & Brown, 2005). These wars have escalated the problems of refugees all over the world because of the resultant social, economic, and political instabilities. Many of the refugees have been forced to flee to countries like Kenya, South Africa, and many others in the continent where there is relative peace and hence protection. Furthermore, others have been forced to seek refuge in countries outside the continent that have ratified the requirements for refugee protection. One of such countries which have experienced the wrath of this problem in Australia. DIMA (2004) report indicates that out of 6 million immigrants in Australia, 645 000 are refugees. It is noted that if this trend continues, the number of refugees would go higher to an unprecedented level within the next few years (Rutter, 2004).

The research findings surrounding the refugee problem in Africa are very shocking. The statistics in the 1980s show that the world had a population of refugees standing at 17 million; one out of three refugees in the world was an African (Nsubuga-Kyobe & Dimock, 2002). Recent statistics place the number of refugees at 24 million, Africans representing one third (DIMIA, 2004). Despite the fact that millions of African refugees are assisted by UNHCR, there are still quite a large number who are internally displaced. This research paper will focus on the settlement services available to African refugees in Australia with special emphasis on what have been done to help them overcome the challenges that come with their status. It will further analyze whether these settlement services do recognize the special conditions that the African refugees face and whether or not their respective background in refugee camps and life in times of war affects their settlement. It will also look briefly at the government directive issued in 2007 to stop the quota for African refugees for that particular year, and consider why the African refugees are having such significant hard time settling down in their new found place of residence. The methodology employed in conducting the research will also be discussed with an aim of justifying it as the most appropriate.

Problem Overview

Enormous efforts have been made by UNHCR and the member states, human rights groups and other aid providing organizations that advocate and champion the rights of the refugees (Lee, 2004). According to the UNHCR, cited in Martin (1998) the involvement in giving asylum to people escaping persecution in their home countries is one of the ancient hallmarks of civilization. This has been mentioned in so many historical books especially during the reign of the empires of the Middle East such as the Hittites, Assyrians, Babylonians, and ancient Egyptians (Martin, 1998). However, Gunn (1994) notes that very few people do understand the magnitude and the extent to which an individual’s life is affected by virtue of being a refugee. Despite a person’s race, sex, age, nature of conflicts, religion, refugees worldwide do have similar experiences which can be compared (Gunn, 1994). Some of the shared consequences of being a refugee include; the loss of or separation from the members of the family, loss of social and economic status, forced displacement, torture, harassment, loneliness, and lack of proper sanitary issues (Gunn, 1994; Lee, 2004; Westwood, 2001). This has resulted in extreme poverty, physical health issues, and even mental health issues in general among the refugees. The refugee problem is growing day in day out in the world and in spite of the enormous efforts being put into containing this crisis, more extra efforts need to be put if the problem is to be brought within manageable limits.

Due to high number of refugees flooding the places of refuge, many and appropriate services need to be enhanced. The chief responsibility for the protection of a person lies entirely with their country of nationality, and where the country has demonstrated its inability or unwillingness to offer the necessary protection, the international protection system is activated. However, these countries must ratify the laid out requirements for them to be host to refugees. Some of the countries include but not limited to Kenya, Australia, and Canada. The 1951 refugee conventions together with the Protocol Relating to Refugees of 1967 are some agendas that have been ratified by Australia. In the 1951 convention, a refugee was defined as someone who due to well- founded fears of being harassed and persecuted for religious, racial, nationality, belonging to a given social group or for political reasons, and is outside the respective country of origin, and is incapable of, or owing to similar threats, is not ready to avail himself or herself of the protection of the particular country (Anderson, 2004, p 39). Settlement, on the other hand, refers to the process of transformation and change with regard to physical, cultural, social, and emotional dimensions (Anderson, 2004, p 39). These are the working definitions for the purposes of this research.

From the above discussion, it was therefore appropriate to carry out this study in order to evaluate the success of the settlement programs that are provided to African refugees in Australia. This will significantly expose the strength and weaknesses that will help in improving the services offered in this country and other states which have ratified the necessary conventions to provide humanitarian programs. The scope of this study will be on the areas outlined in the earlier parts of these introductory pages. The limitation of this study may be from the secondary sources that are used in completing the entire research. This calls for a lot of keenness in the evaluation of materials used in the study. The success of every research work greatly depends on the type of methodology used in the research process. In the next sections, I shall discuss the methodology that I used and why I thought it was the best.

Methodology

As already discussed in the above section, the aim of this research is to focus on the settlement programs offered to African refugees in Australia with a bias in the evaluation of the government’s success in providing these services.

Recent researchers have come to appreciate the value of using the mixed method for conducting a given research. In order to maximize the available resources, I will employ the use of both qualitative and quantitative design both in the collection and analysis of data. However, because of time factor, I will concentrate more on the use of qualitative methods. The study will include unobtrusive methods because of the degree of sensitivity of the topic that I am covering coupled with the ethical issues that surrounds the handling of refugees.

When it comes to the use of the quantitative design methodology, it will entail the construction of a suitable questionnaire that will draw out questions regarding the situation of the African refugee in Australia. This will mainly include responses from the refugees themselves. In general, the sample that I have proposed will consist of community development workers and social workers in Migrant resource centers and the refugees who actually use their services. This will come in handy when assessing and evaluating the ability of the service providers, especially the government, to satisfy the needs of the refugees.

The qualitative design methodology on the other hand will entail series of semi-structured interviews which are targeted at different social and community workers in various organizations and who work at different capacities within the same organizations. The semi-structured interviews will mainly consist of open-ended questions regarding the perspectives that the refugees and the asylum seekers have on the resettlement process and whether these services have actually been effective in addressing the plight of the refugees. I considered this design because of its flexibility as interviewers normally commence with a clear-cut questioning plan but will not be tied to the same pattern and may deviate to ask additional questions that may be necessary for the success of the research. This will in turn offer very unique and situational insights to the entire research phenomena. The research using this method will also involve the review of existing literature, for instance the official policy documents from Australian government reports, Newspaper articles, official statistics in the Department of Immigration and Citizenship, and other commentaries. The internet is another invaluable source of wider range of data relevant to the research question.

This study identifies the use of questionnaires as a very suitable method of conducting research since it enables one to gather diverse information without necessarily having to talk to all respondents on a one-on- one basis. It is also a very flexible method for me to use. This method, however, has its own weaknesses which need to be checked in order to minimize the inaccuracies that may emerge in the research findings. The use of the qualitative method, therefore, serves to neutralize the weaknesses inherent in the qualitative design methodology. This method is very effective in accessing the people’s perceptions, definitions of various situations, meanings, and constructions of reality. Qualitative research method is one of the most powerful ways of understanding others in the society.

The mixed method of research selected for use in this study is therefore one of the most effective and efficient than the single use of qualitative or quantitative method. It brings together the strengths of each of the two main methods that have always been used by researchers. The challenge that I need to overcome is to know when to use one or the other. It is critical to this study to effectively collect the perspectives of both the service providers and the refugees. This will go a long way in determining whether there is any huge difference between what the government and service providers are offering and what the refugees feel they are getting versus what they ought to get. If incase congruencies exist or major differing opinions, then this multi-instrumental approach will provide the necessary tools to determine whether any measurable correlations exist in personal perspectives.

Time constraints will remain one of the major limitations for every researcher. The study has to be over within 12 weeks only and I have to collect and research extensively if my findings are to be reliable. Covering all these within this time plan is really strenuous. With this challenge in mind, I had to narrow my research question to be more specific.

Body of a Research

The Scope of Challenge

Over a long period of time Australia as a country has given many refugees necessary to help them rebuild their lives. The refugees’ countries of origin are largely from African continent, with Somalia, Sudan, Sierra Leone, and Eritrea leading the pack. The government of Australia basically gives support to the refugees through a number of programs subdivided to carter for specific conditions and status of the refugees. For example, the government through its program Humanitarian Settlement Strategy (IHSS) has been offering some critical services to the newly arrival groups of refugees. Some of the services outlined in this program were identified as coordination of arrival cases, reception of the new arrivals, temporary accommodation services, and canceling services for those who underwent psychological trauma back in their countries of origin. Through the Department of Immigration, the government works with groups of volunteers who have been trained on humanitarian services, to help offer appropriate services at their entry points and help them settle within the local community (DIMA, 2004).

Australian government identified each refugee with the country of origin to help them with the services they required in line with their cultural background. With this Sudan was identified as one of the leading contributor to refugee influx, calling for a special attention from the government of Australia. In fact in 2004/2005, DIMA (2004) estimated there were well over 2000 Sudanese national in the refugee camps, a figure that doubled in 2006 report.

In 2004/2005, Australian government provided more that two thirds its humanitarian services to refugees from Africa (DIMA, 2004). In the past one decade, it was reported that the government gave out more that 14000 humanitarian visas to the Sudanese alone, and around 10,000 of the visa grants happen within a span of only two years (DIMA, 2004). Many of these refugees have received the permanent residency status through the offshore humanitarian visa, that enables them to reunite with their and subsequently become citizens of Australia (Cummins, 2000).

On their arrival to Australia via neighboring countries like Kenya and Egypt, most of these people have no formal education, and face language barrier hence handicapped when it comes to social integration. In essence, most of the African refugees on arrival cannot not only write but are unable to utter a single word in English. For instance, the Sudanese government encourages the use of Arabic in all schools, the language used as the national language (Cumming, 2000). Refugees from Sierra Leone are known to speak mostly their vernacular language hence unable to integrate, considering the fact that they have never stepped inside classroom in their lifetime. This challenge prompted a serious concern for the Commonwealth Government of Australia.

Australia’s capacity to protect refugees has given it a major reputation and is currently one of the major resettlement countries. It is capable of taking up to 12,000 refugees annually (DIMIA, 2004). In total, according to Refugee council of Australia, it has over 640,000 refugees at present (DIMIA, 2004). The Humanitarian Program in Australia is one of the parts of its massive contribution to the international protection of refugees. This has positioned Australia as a highly reliable destination that can effectively respond to global humanitarian crises and that it has the capability to provide refugee services to meet the exact requirements of the refugees. When the Department of Immigration was established in 1945 by the Australian government, the source of refugees shifted from the UK to Southern Europe, to Northern Europe, to Asia, to the Middle East and currently to the African continent (DIMIA, 2004). In fact, in the year 2004-05, about 70 per cent of Australia’s Humanitarian Program targeted African refugees (DIMIA, 2004). The main countries of refugees origin include; Sudan, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Congo, Ethiopia, Somalia, and Eritrea. The major cause of displacement in these countries is political instability and insurgency.

This program was initiated mainly to ensure the newly-arrived groups of refugees get integrated into the Australian mainstream community and society in general (DIMIA, 2004). Also, the services are offered in order to assist people overcome the challenges that may bar them from enjoying their lives in the host country. The Australian government has been instrumental in the provision of critical services in an attempt to re-settle the post war victims. The policy framework governing these programs has been transformed from assimilation, through integration, to multiculturalism (Lee, 2004). The multicultural programs encompasses a huge range of services and programs which include ethnic radio, grants to ethnic schools, SBS TV, advisory committees, anti-discrimination tribunals, inter-faith dialogues, and community language teaching (Nsubuga-Kyobe & Dimock, 2002). These programs are mainly related to language teaching and interpretation (English), healthcare provision and housing services (Cummins, 2000).

The services are provided through the integrated Humanitarian settlement strategy program which also funds several organizations and service providers at the community level. These enable them to deliver the settlement services to the grass root levels. Despite all these efforts, as shall be discussed later, there have been a lot of concerns about the resettlement of refugees from Africa in Australia, considering their inherent special needs that will be highlighted later in this paper.

Findings and Discussion

The story of African refugees is long and tedious. Many African refugees on their way to Australia have experience some of the most horrifying experience ever in their lifetime, sometimes leading to tragedy. But the kind of courage and confidence filled with hope as they move to the Queensland is unmatched. On the side of the Australian government, their attempts to help refugees rebuild their lives have been at times hailed and at times criticized, with obvious difficulty emanating from special needs that the refugees from Africa requires and the limited capability in terms of resources and policy framework challenges. Even though the refugees are moving away from the long drawn civil strife, they still find the new culture in the new environment as challenging as never before.

From this study, it was revealed that the Australian government has taken some critically important steps in their effort to address the problem. Under the Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC), the government of Australia has been handling some of the critical issues that affect African refugees in the country. Melbourne is one of the major cities that have been hosting quite a number of African refugees. It is in this city that the government has concentrated some of its activities through numerous intervention programs. Some of the programs are: Adult Migrant English Program (AMEP), Translating and Interpreting services (TIS), Community Grants Program (CGP), Integrated Humanitarian Settlement Strategy (IHSS), and how they have handled the On-shore applicants for asylum by the refugees.

Adult Migrant English Program (AMEP)

At present, there is specific language learning program that is designed for adult refugees in Melbourne. This program is designed in such a manner that it provides English lessons that run for 510 hours for the group that have little English language proficiency, since Australia is basically an English speaking nation and English proficiency will determine a persons level of social integration (Cummins, 2000; Carrasquillo, Kucer & Abrams, 2004). For a group with international humanitarian visa and found to be in the category of special needs group, they get longer hours of lessons (610 hours), an additional 100 hours more that other groups. This particular one is conducted through the Special Preparatory Program (Hakuta, Butler & Witt, 2008).

AMEP is funded through the Australian Regional Governments and Commonwealth. The Commonwealth, under their special programs for refugees has been for a long time the main source funding for the AMEP program. However, the program has faced numerous challenges due to limitations ranging from:

Funding provisions

Through the Commonwealth, about 100 to 400 hours have been set aside to give extra lessons to the group that have been categorized as adults with special needs in the learning of English. They include groups who have never used English as a spoken word in their lifetime. This program that was started in 2004 under the name of Special Preparatory Program has had some ups and downs.

In Melbourne, it has been found that about a quarter of the refugees who arrive in the City have affected learning processes for the earlier arrivals. Furthermore, the impact of interruption has been more rampant on the side of the African refugees who are the majority in the Special Preparatory Program (Fazel & Stein, 2003). This is because they have been identified to need longer periods in this program due to their limited English background, hence putting a strain on the available funds. In a government report, it was established that Africa students need to stay in the camp twice more than other refugees from other regions; about one year instead of 6 months planned (Muir, 2003). And still, this longer period of stay is never enough and an extra stay is getting funding from the territorial governments, whose source fund is also overstretched (Muir, 2003).

The criteria for funding

Even though studies have made it a common knowledge that African refugees need more attention as compared to others from other regions, the criteria for funding these programs have not been reflective of this knowledge (Carrasquillo, et al., 2004). The lack of categorization on the newly-arrived refugees has been an impediment to these special programs which are designed for them. It is observed that majority of African refugees get into the country with the help of their humanitarian visas under the category of Special Humanitarian Program. However, the categories have been found not to receive similar treatment even though they are expected to be handled at the same level and similar way, no matter the sub-class one identifies with.

Process of Allocating the Funding

The provisions in the funding departments are considered satisfactory in overall view, but the problem may emanate from somewhere else, especially in the process or criteria. In actual sense, it is possible that retrospective funding may lead to insufficient funding in the long term (Westwood, 2001).

Additional Issues in Practice/ Policy Challenges

In the refugee camps, it was noticed that counselors are overworked and to make it worse, they evidently lacked cultural awareness especially about the diversely cultured African refugees. This is seen in the way language assessment is done with tools that are generally biased towards culture, hence creating the possibility of misjudgment. Again some of the refugees’ needs such as pastoral support for those who suffered or still suffer from trauma got from their conflict backgrounds are not met adequately.

There is lack of critical planning especially for the African refugees who are consistently pressured to provide for their families. This creates a dilemma when it comes to choosing what activity to participate in; part-time employment or attending the programs. This shows that there is lack of flexibility on the side of planning.

The programs provided are mostly from both government and NGO programs. The problem has been the lack of coordination between the two groups, resulting into replication of projects and programs, consequently creating imbalance.

Translating and Interpreting services (TIS)

African refugees in Australia generally come from wide range of language backgrounds (Coelho, 1998, p.132). Even though no tangible study has been done to establish the level of language variability among the refugees, it is observable that majority of them are French speakers. This is because they come from French speaking nations in Africa. It has also been revealed that African refugees who are unable to speak, write, or even read English have found it really difficult to socially integrate and adapt in Australia generally (Coelho, 1998). To get the necessary services, the refugees need the translation and interpretation services. For example, it was observed that in the medical sectors especially hospitals and other health centers, the translation and interpretation services are offered widely but the doctors fail to utilize them appropriately. This is said to be caused by lack of knowledge about the existence of such provisions among the physicians or just sheer negligence.

The government of Australia subsequently initiated a program, Translating and Interpreting Services to help ease the communication problem barrier between the non-English speakers and the English speakers. Currently, the TIS program helps the refugees with the assistance from over 1300 interpreters all over the country. These interpreters are trained and are able to speak wide range of languages, subsequently offering translation services throughout the week all the time (Hakuta, Butler & Witt, 2008).

The interpreters are assigned duties in relation to their professional level of the languages they speak and their geographical affiliation as well as availability to offer the services at the right time. The body responsible for offering the necessary accreditation to the translators and translators is the known as National Accreditation Authority for Translators and Interpreters (NAATI) (DIAM, 2004). It is this body that examines and approves the translators through assessment of their language skills and geographical inclination to help reduce culture shock. To take care of some sensitive areas like gender and disability, some translators and interpreters are assigned specifically unique duties to handle such cases, especially when such a request is made.

Community Grants Program (CGP)

During the financial year 2008/2009, the total number of grants that were focused towards African refugees was about 80. These grants were estimated at $5 million plus other general programs or projects that were specifically designed for African refugees. Data from Australian department of statistics shows that African refugees comprised of 27% of all refugees during this financial year (Hakuta, et al., 2008). This program mainly targeted this group, who were identified to mainly come from Sudan, Somalia, Democratic Republic of Congo, Sierra Leone, etc (Coelho, 1998). Out of these those who needed serious humanitarian assistance were the majority.

The Community Grants Program was basically set with the idea of offering the new arrivals of refugees settle. The grants are useful because it helps the new refugees find the right connections to enable them find jobs, settlements places (place to call home). In a nutshell, the programs focus on strengthening the individual capacity so as to help them have the necessary link to the actual provision sources.

In this program, the services offered are placed under several different sub-programs namely:

  1. Orientation to Australia: this is meant to develop practical skills to boost self-reliance among the refugees in Melbourne and elsewhere. The primary objective is to ensure that the refugees get right information to enable them get self-reliant integration within the Australia social and economic system. The secondary objective is that once the communities get integrated, they are able to rely on themselves towards search for better jobs, healthcare and education for their children. At the same time, the sub-program is aimed at helping the community build the good social integration within themselves and the entire community as a whole.
  2. Communities Development: this sub-program is to ensure the communities focus their goals on building self, especially for the newly-arrived refugees. It intends to help the communities work together in an effort towards restoring their cultural values, so as to give them the necessary feeling of acceptance. This was seen as a way of solving the problem that the refugees had highlighted in several forums that their cultures were being undermined and that they found it difficult to create the harmony with their hosts. Again, the communities are put in a position where they can reliably respond to any form of emerging crises as well as set their own priority in relation to what they deem fit for the betterment of their lives. With this approach, sustainability is achieved.
  3. Integration: This entails an attempt to create a sense of belonging to the African refugee communities, through encouragement of inclusion as well as participation (Lee, 2004). The corporation and partnership created between the communities was intended to assist the refugees get to the mainstream system of the Australian community and solve the problem of social isolation. In essence, this program is using one strategy to achieve two goals; training the mainstream community on how to accommodate and integrate the refugees as well as helping the refugees understand the diversity of the broader Australian community.

Integrated Humanitarian Settlement Strategy (IHSS)

IHSS is a program initiative that targets refugees in Australia, especially the ones in dire need of humanitarian support. It is noted that majority of the refugees who have experienced serious trauma from the strife back in their respective countries of origin are African, mainly from Sudan, Sierra Leone, Congo and Somalia. These refuges have received enormous amount of trauma that simple refugee assistance may not help much in restoring normalcy in their lives. Australian government and other agencies therefore saw the need for more than just granting special visas. They identified proper settlement as the ultimate goal, where they would begin to redefine and rebuild the missing links in their lives.

IHSS is meant to support at initial stages with properly structured settlement assistance that would see new arrivals receive basic needs through IHSS-delivered services. The program under IHSS are meant to take a half a year, where volunteers help the refugees

On-shore applicants for asylum by the refugees

The increased granting of on-shore visas to the African refugees has presented one such big challenge. Available information shows that over 70% of those granted on-shore visas were African refuges (Hakuta, Butler & Witt, 2008). After receiving the Visas, they are settled in areas that are already filled with other African refugees who arrived in Australia long time ago, close to more than two years.

Even though they get some special attention from both the government and NGOs, the government of Australia is said to lack the capacity or has been insufficiently dealing with the African refugees who lack proper education, those whose health has deteriorated, and the ones suffering from psychological trauma. They have been accused of assisting the refugees partially and discriminatively, denying certain groups basic humanitarian services (Roberts, 2005). The groups are identified as: those who have stayed for 45 days since their arrivals and yet have failed to apply for refugee status, those appealing against court decisions, or those who have protested against the government’s isolation.

Conclusion

The research paper has highlighted the general plight of the African refugees in the Australia and the efforts that have been put in place to ensure that they get the services they deserve as human beings. In the It has touched on the methodology used to conduct the research which was the mixed method of research (MMR). The success of the Australian government in the provision of necessary services has been critical evaluated. The number of refugees flooding Australia originates from various parts of the world. Some come from Europe, Asia, and Middle East. Most recently the number of refugees from Africa has hit a record high. This has mainly been necessitated by the wars in most regions of African countries. Despite some of the great services offered to refugees from Africa, it was found out that there is still a lot to be done if the problems facing the refugees are to be addressed amicably. This paper has elaborated the key areas which the government should strive to improve on.

It is evident that a lot of effort has been put in place to provide African refugees a human face in Australia. Considering the fact that very high number of African refugees flooding the places of refuge, have numerous problems ranging from deplorable humanitarian problems to language barriers, the government of Australia has done some considerable work in resorting normalcy in this people. Through program Adult Migrant English Program (AMEP), the government has done funded the program to ensure that the refugees get basic services as required by the international humanitarian standards. In Melbourne, alone it has been found that about a quarter of the refugees who arrive in the City have affected learning processes for the earlier arrivals. This created the urgency to sort out the issue as much as possible by increasing the funding to help increase the number of settlement sites. Because African refugees are considered special, they are given more hours to integrate into the learning system hence more funding. However, it has been observed that even the additional time of 6 months sometimes is not enough for some specific African refugees, hence creating more complexity into the challenge.

Considering the fact that majority of African refugees get access to Australia with humanitarian visas under the category of Special Humanitarian Program (Westwood, 2001), they do not receive similar treatment when it comes to visa full residency programs, with some highlighting racial discrimination as the main reason for this problem. Again it has been noted that the fund provision has been faced with logistical and retrospective challenges (Westwood, 2001). Furthermore, lack of appropriate planning has been identified as a major barrier to the programs’ success. This has subsequently caused problem among the refugees who find it hard to balance between going to balance between looking for work and attending the services, since they have to dfeed their families as well as learn language to integrate.

The Australian government grant program is also another program that has received important attention in the recent past. The Community Grants Program was basically set with the idea of offering the new arrivals of refugees settle. The program is critical because it helps new refugees find the right connections to enable them find jobs, settlements places (place to call home). In summery, the program is basically meant to strengthen the individual capacity so as to help them have the necessary link to the actual provision sources. With the sub-division of the program into units of Orientation to Australia, Communities development and community integration, the government ensured they offered the entire necessary requirement to help them overcome the inherent challenges. It is also under this program that government intends to bring corporation between the refugees themselves and the entire community of Australia. This is under the special sub-program of Integrated Human Settlement Strategy (IHSS) after identifying the need for a proper settlement to rebuild the refugees a fresh for them to see any meaning to life after terror.

The government of Australia has also increased issuance of on-shore visas to the African refugees. However, this has come with unprecedented challenge due to the pressure placed on the already overstretched resources. This is because after receiving the Visas, they are settled in areas that are already filled with other African refugees who arrived in Australia long before. The government of Australia is also reeling from inadequate resources that have led to pressure on their ability to deal with the problems facing African refugees who have been found to lack proper education, suffer from serious ill health has deteriorated, and psychological trauma. They have also been accused of assisting the refugees partially and discriminatively, denying certain groups basic humanitarian services (Roberts, 2005). The groups are identified as: those who have stayed for 45 days since their arrivals and yet have failed to apply for refugee status, those appealing against court decisions, or those who have protested against the government’s isolation.

Generally, African refugees have presented Australian government with the challenge they have never seen before. The services they offer to them have been great. However, it must be noted that the changes have occurred among the nature and need of the African refugees in Australia. This has also evolved the programs from the initial new-arrival services to the present continuous programs meant to integrate the refugees into the mainstream Australian society; it is evidently a long journey. At present it can be noticed that the programs are tailored to meet specific necessities. However, with the continuous influx of African refugees, it is expected that Australian government will continue focusing on the specifically designed programs to increase the formal settlement assistance from now until years to come. This should be the prime goal of the government with assistance from other agencies like UNHCR and the NGOs. The future of the programs will be how best to manage the isolated cases of African refugees whose lives have continuously evolved overtime and who are often at risk of perishing or losing the important skills to survive in the diverse community of Australia.

Reflective Report

The entire paper has covered issues relating to the treatment of refugees by the Australian government. It is evident from the discussion that a lot of efforts have been put in by the government in Australian with assistance from other United Nations Agencies. The role played by the UNHCR, as we have learnt, is quite enormous. It keeps track of all details concerning refugees who are either internally displaced or those who shift to other countries in search of tranquility and peace. In this research we have focused mainly on the situation of African refugees in Australia and particularly how they receive the services subject to them. We have learnt that despite the good efforts demonstrated by the Australian government, many challenges are still encountered by the African refugees. This raises a lot of concern about the country’s reputation as far as handling refugees is concerned.

The tough situations faced by the aforementioned refugees are least expected given the fact that the country benefits especially economically from the services that these refugees are capable of offering. Some of the problems which are experienced by the refugees include social isolation, and language barriers. However, the most sensitive issue as far as handling of African refugees is concerned is racism. In some instances they are not allowed to perform given tasks or hold certain job positions hence making their stay wilder. If the situation is not checked, it may amount to oppression which is against the requirements of the UN conventions that member states ratify.

The study focused on the qualitative research methods. However, before settling on the qualitative research, I had to weigh the other option of quantitative research. Using the available literature, I came up with the following comparisons:

In qualitative research, there is no any information that is described as qualitative data since everything is either yes of no, with descriptive nature of explanation. Again on this type of research, I did only have a rough idea of what I wanted and as Nkwi, Nyamongo & Ryan (2001) observe, it is normally recommended for early stages of research projects. On the other hand, quantitative research help us classify some specific features, counting figures and leads us to construct statistical models in an effort to explain the observations we have made (Nyamongo & Ryan, 2001). In this case researcher tends to have specific information he or she wants.

Qualitative research is focused in understanding a given research problem from the perspective of a given population that has been involved (Nkwi, Nyamongo & Ryan, 2001). Denzin & Lincoln (2000, p.193) says that this type of research is very necessary when inquiring about specific cultural information on values, opinions, behaviors, and most importantly the social context of the particular information. It also offers crucial information on a more personal perspective e.g. the existing contradictory behaviors, opinions, beliefs, motions and relationships between individuals (Denzin & Lincoln (2000, p.193). I have to admit this part proved very important in my study.

From the above analysis, I identified qualitative research to be more relevant to my study as it provided the description of people’s experience in a complex contextual manner, hence African refugee status and experience that I really needed to reflect on. I therefore resorted to use the two types of qualitative methods, i.e. participant observation and In-depth interviews. My own observations were critically important in collecting data on natural setting. At the same time in-depth interview proved even more useful in the collection of data on the individual’s and the family’s personal histories, perspectives, encounters, and experiences through the discussion of some sensitive issues within the families of the refugees.

Focus group discussion is another very effective qualitative method especially when it comes to eliciting data on a particular group’s experience and the generation of a wide overview of certain social issues. It helped a great deal in enquiring some of the detailed information that I have highlighted in the report. The questions were systematic, beginning from their personal information like their personal details, country of origin, the number of family members, etc. at some points the process was so tensed and emotional that I found it absolutely necessary to pause and leave the respondent calm down before we could continue. I made sure I was within the context of my study so as to speed up the process and avoid backlog of ideas.

Since my research meant I was to come into contact with a group which quite sensitive to handle, I had to maintain the ethical standards required in a qualitative research. As a researcher I had to consider the concerns of the people we study, even if they don’t show the concern. I therefore made sure that all the processes of research were done in appropriate manner in tandem with the laid down guidelines and procedures of conduction qualitative research.

Even though I can confidently say that the study when on well, I experienced some of the most outstanding barriers that are worth highlighting. First there was the problem with language and communication. Many African refugees could not speak English, hence my reliance on interpreters who even though were very helpful, sometimes proved unreliable and inaccurate. Secondly, I certainly found it hard at times to control my emotional self. This is because never in my lifetime have I ever been exposed to such as environment, listening to personal stories that are hard to comprehend. But it was a lesson worth it; learning some of the most important issues that I am sure will be in handy in my professional practice and personal growth.

Owing to the methodology that I used in the research, I believe that the findings are as accurate as possible and can be used in counterchecking and enhancing the performance of the Australian government in its efforts to provide specific services and needs of the refugees from Africa. I believe this report has the potential to offer the necessary reflection for such an improvement now and in future. Finally, any further research is welcome as no specific study is an island of its own but relies on other researches to provide the necessary ingredients necessary in solving the daily problems of the world. This report is one of the many ingredients.

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"Government-Funded Settlement Programs for African Refugees." IvyPanda, 26 Nov. 2021, ivypanda.com/essays/government-funded-settlement-programs-for-african-refugees/.

1. IvyPanda. "Government-Funded Settlement Programs for African Refugees." November 26, 2021. https://ivypanda.com/essays/government-funded-settlement-programs-for-african-refugees/.


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IvyPanda. "Government-Funded Settlement Programs for African Refugees." November 26, 2021. https://ivypanda.com/essays/government-funded-settlement-programs-for-african-refugees/.

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IvyPanda. 2021. "Government-Funded Settlement Programs for African Refugees." November 26, 2021. https://ivypanda.com/essays/government-funded-settlement-programs-for-african-refugees/.

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IvyPanda. (2021) 'Government-Funded Settlement Programs for African Refugees'. 26 November.

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