Every year, thousands of refugees are forced to leave
their countries of origin and are hosted by their neighboring countries.
However, very little is known about the impact of these refugees on the local
economy and its inhabitants. Dadaab town experienced natural vegetation
comprising of trees, shrubs and grasses that sustained the pastoral economy
before the settlement of refugees. However, most of the natural vegetation that
was previously found in the Dadaab area has experienced the devastating effects
of the refugee settlement. With the refugee settlement, which has continued to
grow in size, there have been increased bush clearing activities in order to
create more space, indiscriminate harvesting of natural vegetation for various
uses, and the general pressure on available natural resources. Nonetheless,
there are instances when the refugee settlement has increased the value of land
as well as natural vegetation. Despite the area being used by pastoralists, the
refugee settlement has given the land more value. In this respect, it is
apparent that settlement of refugees have two sides, positive and negative
impacts.

Notably, there has continued to be conflicts between
the government allowing the refugee settlement and the host communities. Whereas
the host communities believe that the effects of refugee settlement have been
devastating on them, the government continues to assure them of the benefits
associated with the refugee settlement. Even though there has been adequate
documentation of the effect of refugees on natural environment, very little has
been done to establish how such aspects affect the host community. In other
words, studies have generally looked at overall effects of refugee settlements without
focusing on the hosts. What’s more, the studies so far carried have always
focused on a mono strategy, which is, leaning on only one research strategy. For
instance, studies have focused more on providing quantitative understanding of
the effects of refugee settlements. Concentrating on one method is likely to
result into a number of limitations. Focusing on this gaps, the proposed study
seeks to investigate the environmental effects of refugee settlements on host
communities while adopting mixed research design or methodology.

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