BUDUBURAM, located in Ghana, was established in 1990 to accommodate the influx of Liberian refugees who fled to Ghana when Charles Taylor came to power. Initially, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) provided the settlement’s residents with individual aid and relief.
In 1997, however, Liberia held elections that the UN judged to be fair enough to allow for safe repatriation conditions. As a result, the UNHCR discontinued refugee assistance to Liberians in Ghana, and the settlement lost much of its funding.
During this time, an estimated 3,000 refugees returned to Liberia. Most chose to remain in Ghana, however, and the Buduburam settlement served as the center of their community.
Soon after the 1997 elections, the political situation in Liberia worsened, and fresh arrivals of Liberian refugees to Ghana led the UNHCR to return to Buduburam. Although the UNHCR limits its personal aid efforts in the settlement to unaccompanied minors, the elderly, and the disabled, the organization does sponsor infrastructure work within the community, funding projects such as construction and education.
Now host to over 42,000 refugees, most of whom are Liberian, the settlement still receives new refugees on a regular basis.