• Théogène-Octave Gakuba PhD, University of Applied Sciences Western Switzerland - Haute Ecole de Travail Social de Genève; theogene-octave.


young African refugees, psychosocial aspects, urban context, resilience, Abidjan, Dakar, Geneva


This article explores psychosocial aspects and resilience of young African refugees in an urban context (Abidjan, Ivory-Coast, Dakar-Senegal and Geneva-Switzerland). A review of literature, study methodology, and results are presented. The sample of our study consisted of 150 young African refugees aged 18 to 30 years. To gather and analyse the data, we employed qualitative methods (semi-structured interviews with young refugees as well as with the healthcare professionals and social workers) and quantitative methods (physical and mental health questionnaires). The results of the study show that in the three countries studied, the living conditions for refugees are difficult. Indeed, the grant of refugee status requires very lengthy procedures. The precariousness of the residence permit, settling refugees in a situation of waiting, negatively affects the psychological point of view. This prevents them from working and to project in the future; which places them in uncertainty situation. Some young refugees .have mental health problems. These problems are related to their pre-migration experiences in their country of origin and the post-migration conditions experience in the host country. More specifically these problems are linked to poverty, problems of cultural adaptation and family separation. They have constant anxiety and psychological problems characterised by fatigue, sleep disturbances, headaches and stomach pains.

Author Biography

Théogène-Octave Gakuba, PhD, University of Applied Sciences Western Switzerland - Haute Ecole de Travail Social de Genève; theogene-octave.

We conducted the research, “Young African refugees in urban context: psychosocial, identity and resilience: Comparative research between Africa (Abidjan, Ivory-Coast, and Dakar-Senegal) and Europe (Geneva, Switzerland) from 2011 to 2013. The research was supported by a grant from The Council for the Development of Social Science Research in Africa (Codesria- Dakar) and The Rectors' Conference of the Swiss Universities of Applied Sciences for the financial support (Switzerland). Principal investigators are Gakuba Théogène-octave in Geneva, Mohamadaou Sall in Dakar and Gilbert Fokou in Abidjan. Kouakou Christiane was research assistant in Abidjan.


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