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Kyegegwa gets sh6b for livelihood projects

By Geoffrey Mutegeki

Added 6th August 2018 08:32 AM

Refugee hosting areas are among the poorest and less developed sub-regions in Uganda.

Kyegegwa gets sh6b for livelihood projects

Refugee hosting areas are among the poorest and less developed sub-regions in Uganda.

PIC: Ernest Kiiza launching the construction of Kakoni Primary School in Kyegegwa district last week. (Credit: Geoffrey Mutegeki)


Paul Ndebesa, 52, always feels envious whenever he sees refugees being taken to Kyaka II refugee settlement camp in Kyegegwa district.

"As local people we are neglected and all the attention is directed to the refugees. It hurts us and makes us feel bad to see that the refugees are more supported than us," Ndebesa says.

The father of seven is lives in Kakoni village in Kyaka sub-county at the borders of the refugee camp.

He says support to refugees normally comes in form of food, water, cash handouts, and good health services among others.

This support comes from both the Government and humanitarian actors.

"Even when we go to health centres within the refugee camp, we are mistreated. They always give the first priority to refugees, yet sickness does not differentiate from a refugee and a citizen," Ndebesa said.

The presence of refugees affects the coping abilities of host communities by increasing demand and competition for natural resources, food and basic social economic services like health and education.

Refugee hosting areas are among the poorest and less developed sub-regions in Uganda. 

"We always clash with the refugees because they encroach on our land and some of them think they are more vital than us. They are arrogant because the Government gives them money, which we don't have," says Erasmus Baguma.

However, all this is bound to change and Ndebesa would maybe live a happy man since the Government has launched sh6b project aimed at improving the livelihoods of refugee hosting communities in Kamwenge. 

The project dubbed Development Response to Displacement Impact Project (DRDIP), was last week launched in Kyegegwa by State Minister for Bunyoro Affairs, Ernest Kiiza, at a function held at Kakoni Primary School.

Funded by the World Bank, the project will be implemented for five years.

In his remarks to the locals, Kiiza said the Government is committed to ensuring that local communities benefit as hosts for refugees.

"It is our desire as Office of the Prime Minister to ensure that hosting refugees becomes a blessing not a burden to the country and the host communities. We shall assure asylum space for refugees in Uganda while protecting national and community interests," Kiiza says.

In Kyegegwa, the project will comprise rehabilitation of Migongwe-Rwentuha-Kakabara road (27km), construction of general ward for patients and installation of lightning protector, solar power, and 10,000 litre water tank at Kyegegwa Health centre IV.

The money will also be used to construct six classrooms with desks, and lightning conductors, construction of three blocks of a five-stance drainable latrine and two 10,000 litre water tanks at Kakoni Primary School.

"I am happy that the Government has remembered us. We feel valued because our children will be having good classrooms and health services," says Evangelista Tindamutina.

According to Charles Bafaki, the DRDIP project manager, the project will address infrastructure needs in health, education, and roads. It will also address environmental protection and livelihoods

"We shall look at income generating activities and fund them especially areas of value addition. On environment we shall help the community with alternative sources of energy like solar and planting trees," Bafaki said.

The same project is being implemented in eleven refugee hosting districts of Yumbe, Koboko, Arua, Hoima, Kyegegwa and Isingiro. Others are Moyo, Lamwo, Adjumani, and Kiryandongo.  

Dan Ayebazibwe, says the project will help the youth with jobs and open opportunities to access better services.

"Many of us youth will work on these construction sites while getting our goods to the market will also become easy when some roads are worked on," Ayebazibwe says.

He says if locals are given better services and protected from land encroachment, there would be no fighting between refugees and locals.

Kyegegwa has a population of 277,379 people as of May 2018 according to OPM. Of these, 14% are refugees at 46,314.

John Kisoke, the Kyegegwa LC5 chairperson commended the Government for helping the host communities which he believes will reduce on tensions.

"We are glad that the Government is helping the locals with basic services, which have been a challenge. We urge the contractors to work diligently and deliver a good job," Kisoke said.


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