Hosting New Neighbors : Perspectives of Host Communities on Social Cohesion in Eastern DRC


Phuong Pham, Thomas O'Mealia, Carol Wei, Kennedy Kihangi Bindu, Anupah Makoond, and Patrick Vinck. 6/2022. “Hosting New Neighbors : Perspectives of Host Communities on Social Cohesion in Eastern DRC”. Read Publication


Situations of forced displacement create unique challenges for social cohesion because of the major disruption of social dynamics among both displaced persons and host communities. This paper uses a sequential mixed method approach to analyze the relationship between hosting displaced persons and perceptions of social cohesion in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo. First, participatory research methods in focus groups empowered participants to produce a locally driven definition of social cohesion. The results from these exercises inform the quantitative assessment by dictating measurement strategies when analyzing original surveys. Combining almost 50,000 responses to 11 cross-sectional surveys between 2017 and 2021, displacement is negatively associated with perceptions of social cohesion in aggregate. But at the individual level, those who report hosting displaced populations in their communities often have higher perceptions of social cohesion. These results are strongest among respondents who self-report hosting IDPs as opposed to refugees, but important heterogeneity across indicators, local context, and gender should guide policy meant to promote social cohesion in forced displacement.