ABSTRACT

Refugees from the Casamance region of southern Senegal have settled in The Gambia due to protracted, low-level, conflict in Casamance that continues to present security challenges and periodic refugee influxes from Casamance across its northern border into The Gambia. This chapter explores why some Casamance refugees settle in urban areas of The Gambia, their motivation to do so and what keeps them there despite the clear hardships they endure. Examining the effectiveness of assistance and highlighting barriers to ‘success’ in achieving self-reliance and integration in a context of existing poverty, I explore how assistance is impacted by refugees’ move to urban areas and the challenges faced by agencies supporting refugees. Discussing how urban refugees become invisible, why it matters and the impact this has on urban settlement and integration and goals of self-reliance connects with current UNHCR policy towards urban refugees.