The Japanese ambassador to Uganda, H.E Kazuaki Kameda has commended development partners involved in running support programs helping refugees and host communities. He made these remarks at the closing of a United Nation’s Development Programme (UNDP) – Japan three year funded humanitarian intervention in Moyo district, yesterday.
The programme dubbed “Strengthening the Humanitarian-Development Nexus in Responding to the South Sudanese Refugee Crisis project” was initiated three years ago to cater for fleeing South Sudanese following repeated skirmishes in their country. It was also aimed at building the resilience of the host community.
Speaking on Friday, Kameda lauded development partners for a job well as far as refugee response is concerned. However, he pointed out, that interventions of this nature, should aim at building the resilience of both the refugee and host communities as one way of improving their livelihoods.
“The emergency phase which started in July 2016 is nearly over. With about 800,000 South Sudanese refugees remaining in the region, not only humanitarian assistance, but also more development support is direly required. This project is a kind of catalyst to lead the development pathway and I am happy to see the good result of its implementation on the ground,” Mr Kameda noted.
On his part, Mr. Silimani Jalwiny, the Chief Administrative Officer of Yumbe district observed that West Nile is the second poorest region in Uganda and as such needed special attention.
“We should be regarded as a vulnerable community hosting another vulnerable community. We are extremely grateful for Japan and UNDP support which is helping us cope with the situation”, Jalwiny observes.
In April 2018, the Government of Japan provided US$1.5m (Shs 5.5 billion) to UNDP purposely among many other things to strengthen the capacity of district local governments and relevant national institutions in coping with the large influx of refugees.
Subsequently, through workshops jointly conducted with the prime minister’s office, the UNDP managed to train more than 600 local leaders in three districts of Moyo, Adjumani and Yumbe were in areas to deal with disaster risk management, bottom-up and evidence-based planning and budgeting among other precincts.
Also, this project provided an Emergency Employment Scheme known as “Cash-For-Work” which ensured that refugee and locals were employed in various infrastructural projects; among these, tree planting and road construction.
From their pay they got from this arrangement, they made savings and received business skills training to develop business plans and through additional coaching they were supported to establish micro-businesses.
According to information from UNDP, Uganda is currently hosting 1.2 million refugees and asylum seekers mainly from South Sudan, Democratic Republic of Congo and Burundi.