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400 households to benefit from sh33b refugee fund

By Betty Amamukirori

Added 27th February 2019 05:43 PM

Conflict and the subsequent displacement disrupt livelihoods as migrants leave behind their jobs and economic activities

400 households to benefit from sh33b refugee fund

Acting UNDP resident representative in Uganda, Almaz Gebru (left) and the KOICA country director Jun Young Suk signing of a memorandum of understanding at UNDP offices in Kampala. Photo by Ronnie Kijjambu

Conflict and the subsequent displacement disrupt livelihoods as migrants leave behind their jobs and economic activities

400 households in three host community districts in Acholi and West Nile sub-region are set to benefit from a total of sh33b ($9m).

The fund has been set aside by the Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA) and the United Nations Development to improve the wellbeing of refugees and host communities. Out of the $9m, KOICA contributed $7m while UNDP contributed $2m.

Yesterday, the two international agencies signed a Memorandum of Understanding to guide the implementation of the four year project, Uganda host and refugee community empowerment project, in the districts of Lamwo, Adjumani and Moyo.

According to Almaz Gebru, the UNDP country director, under the project, 60% of the beneficiaries will be women. She explained that this is aimed at empowering women economically in order to prevent gender based violence.

Conflict and the subsequent displacement disrupt livelihoods as migrants leave behind their jobs and economic activities. Similarly many women are subjected to domestic violence and ensuring gender equality is an integral part of agenda 2030," she said.

She explained that the project will implement schemes for emergency employment, vocational training, value chain development and structured community mobilization and messaging to address the root causes of gender inequality and Gender Based Violence.

Jun Young Suk, KOICA country director, said the project will unlock the economic capacities of women in refugee and host communities through livelihood opportunities and building capacity of relevant stakeholders in gender transformative programing.

Thierry Prouteau, the program specialist, said that the money will be given to people in need as an emergency to meet their basic needs and in turn they come with projects or ideas on how they want to contribute to their communities.

These will include projects such as road maintenance and rehabilitation, tree planting and creating markets for locally produced goods.

"We are creating some kind of emergency jobs where the host communities get quick money to meet their basics needs and in return work to improve the communities. They are also free to decide what kind of activity they want to do," he said.

He said as the scheme progresses, they will create village saving groups where the beneficiaries will be encouraged to save and then invest in income generating activities.

He said once this is created, they will train the beneficiaries to develop business plans and also top up on their savings to meet their investment needs.

Suk noted that the project is line with national and global refugee and host communities' strategic plans and frameworks.

"KOICA will work with other partners to make sure we get to achieve the goals of this project," she said.

Uganda is host to 1.2 million refugees as per data collected by government and United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees in Jan 2019.

Last year, during a meeting with the UK secretary of state for International Development Priti Patel, in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni decried the shortage of funds to manage the refugee numbers in Uganda but noted the country is willing to host refugees escaping political turmoil in neighboring countries.

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