Uganda is the leading refugee-hosting nation in Africa.
ARUA - The office of the prime minister in Arua has hailed a new programme aimed at establishing harmony between refugees in Rhino Camp Settlement in Arua and the host communities.
“Peaceful coexistence promotes harmonious relations,” said Solomon Osakan, the refugee desk officer of Arua.
Uganda is the leading refugee-hosting nation in Africa. More than 1.3 million people fleeing conflict in neighbouring nations have been resettled in Uganda.
Social interaction breeds harmony between refugees and host communities, added Osakan.
The new programme, dubbed Mission to Increase Capacity and Hope, was launched at Muni University in Arua by the resident district commissioner, Nahor Oyaa.
He said the sh29b initiative fits in the Government’s objective of improving the livelihoods of refugees and promoting peace in the areas they are living.
Nearly 50,000 people will benefit from the three-year programme, including 13,000 refugees at Rhino Camp Settlement in Omugo sub-county.
Biggest refugee camps in the world
Sabo Kamilo, the secretary of finance planning and administration of Arua district, urged the area leaders to back the programme, adding that they put to use government facilities in health and education.
He also urged the communities to embrace financial literacy initiatives via the Village Savings Loan Association to enable them send their children to school.
Kamilo also warned refugees against environmental degradation.
"You should not burn trees. Don't go to the forests and cut them because they were not grown by you.”
It is understood the new World Vision-spearheaded programme looks to promote protection, social cohesion and better living among refugees and host communities.
Already, the initiative has provided over 45 child-friendly spaces hosting over 35,000 children in the districts of Arua, Yumbe and Adjumani.
The programme’s manager, Mary Njeri, reasoned that if the challenges refugees are grappling with are not attended to now, host communities will bear the brunt in the long term.
United Nation’s refugee agency UNHCR reported in early 2018 that there are over 68 million forcibly displaced people worldwide. This statistic includes 40 million internally displaced people.
Developing nations, mostly in Africa, host 85% of the overall refugee population.
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