Global Links & Camp Management

The establishment and management of urban camps shows how links between global and local factors shape socio-political and economic developments in the cities. Camps are often managed by local leaders (‘gatekeepers’) in cooperation with humanitarian organisations.

In Baidoa and Mogadishu, the availability or expectation of humanitarian aid has attracted displaced people to camps. These camps are often established and managed by leaders or committees who are in contact with humanitarian agencies and who take a proportion of aid delivered to ‘their’ camps. Additionally, and often in cooperation with the camp leaders, residents in the towns may set up their own ‘Rice Huts’ in order to receive a share of aid deliveries. In spite of these practices, interviewees from camps in Mogadishu and Baidoa referred generally in positive terms to the camp leaders, either emphasizing the assistance they have received from the leaders directly or the hard work of leaders in their attempt to attract international assistance.

In Bosaaso, camp leaders have been involved in resettlement initiatives undertaken in coordination with humanitarian agencies and the local government. As emergency aid is seen to decrease to these new settlements, these leaders are advocating for greater representation and voice in city governance.

In Hargeisa, such emergence assistance is also limited and ‘gatekeepers’ are not reported to be so active. Many interviewees who lived in the overcrowded city camps, however, expected or at least hoped to become part of relocation initiatives. In all of the locations these leaders and committees are described by interviewees as the primary means of resolving local disputes in the camps.