Uganda Seeks More Funding to Support Growing Refugee Population

uganda seeks more funding to support growing refugee population
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The Ugandan government is reaching out to international organizations, particularly the World Food Programme (WFP), and other donors, urging them to allocate more resources to support refugees in the country. Irene Abina, the acting regional refugee desk officer for the South Western region, has made this call while inspecting refugee settlements in the south-western part of Uganda.

Refugee Settlements and Support

The government has taken several measures to assist refugees, such as engaging the National Agricultural Research Organisation (NARO) to provide support to two key refugee settlements: Kyaka II in Kyegegwa District and Rwamwanja Refugee Settlement in Kamwenge District. Ms. Abina highlighted the importance of NARO’s involvement, as it can swiftly address food shortages, ensuring food security in the settlements. NARO has been distributing seeds to refugees, enabling them to harvest crops like beans in just two months and cassava in eight months, among other crops.

Dr. Kenneth Akankwasa, a senior research officer involved in the project, emphasized that the project’s impact, despite limited funds, has been significant. It has allowed refugees in Rwamwanja and Kyaka II to quickly attain food security, thus encouraging them to remain in their respective settlements. He pointed out that the project not only provides food but also restores faith in refugees’ efforts. NARO’s intervention is set to focus on crops like beans, bananas, maize, sweet potatoes, cassava, and soybeans.

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Challenges Faced by Refugees

The plight of refugees in Uganda remains a critical concern. The country currently hosts more than 1.6 million refugees in 13 different districts. These refugees come from various regions and backgrounds, seeking safety and stability. However, providing adequate support has proven to be a challenging endeavor.

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) reports that only 37 percent of the required $343.4 million to support refugees in Uganda for 2023 has been released. This funding gap poses significant challenges to providing essential services, shelter, and sustenance to the refugee population.

The Impact on Refugees

Mr. Alex Pajani, a refugee who relocated to Kenya from Kyaka II settlement but later returned, shared his experiences. He noted that conditions in Kakuma Refugee Camp in Kenya were not as favorable as in Uganda. The availability of resources and the support provided in Uganda were key factors that influenced his decision to return to his original settlement.

Uganda’s commitment to supporting refugees is commendable, but the demand for resources continues to grow with the increasing number of refugees seeking shelter and aid within the country. The government’s appeal for more funding aims to ensure that the basic needs of refugees, such as food, shelter, and security, are adequately met. As the global community grapples with the ongoing refugee crisis, the responsibility to provide assistance remains a shared endeavor, requiring increased collaboration and financial support.

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