SIHMA | Scalabrini Institute For Human Mobility In Africa

Tiwonge Loga

My name is Tiwonge Loga and I am from Malawi “The Warm Heart of Africa”. I am also from the ‘olden days”, as described by my Gen Z tribe.  I have a PhD in Public Health.  After years of work, I decided to go back to school in a new, but complementary field.  So, I obtained a Post Graduate Diploma in Law and a Masters in Transitional Justice, Human Rights and Rule of Law. 

Two factors motivated me to apply to SIHMA as a Volunteer Researcher.  The first was an interest in international refugee law through my new training.  And the second was an ongoing situation in Malawi at the time, where refugees and asylum seekers who had settled in communities were being taken back to refugee camps, in line with Malawi’s “reservation to freedom of movement”.  I wanted to gain better understanding of the needs and challenges of refugees, asylum seekers and migrant populations.

SIHMA allowed me the opportunity to gain some insight into practicalities of refugee work.  I was tasked to conduct a desk review on ‘Key performance indicator framework for refugee integration in Uganda and to develop a paper focusing on ‘Patterns and contributory factors to trafficking of minors in Mzimba district, Malawi’. I also sharpened my social media abilities with the help of a very tech-savvy volunteer and wrote several blogs including ‘Still fit for purpose – the 1951 Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees’ and ‘Nexus of human trafficking and refugee camps’.

SIHMA also introduced me to the operational side of service delivery and support for refugees and migrants through the Scalabrini Centre of Cape Town. In collaboration with their legal and advocacy department, I attended technical discussions on the international refugee convention and its link with the local South African statutes.

SIHMA and Scalabrini Centre of Cape Town seamlessly combined refugee/migrant research and service delivery, with each part informing and complementing the other. And the time spent with them between September and December 2023 was very personally rewarding. A big thank you goes to the SIHMA Research Manager for giving me the opportunity, and to the rest of the Scalabrini family. And did I mention how stunning Cape Town itself was?