What you need to know:
- Over the last six years, different development partners and the government have implemented different livelihood interventions such as vocational training to equip refugees for self-reliance.
Leaders in Adjumani and Lamwo districts have faulted the government and development partners for equipping refugees with skills they can’t apply.
Mr Moses Nyang, the Refugee Welfare Committee chairperson for Adjumani District, said most refugees trained in different livelihood skills have not been equipped to utilise them.
“You train a refugee as a driver and he is in the camp, when will he drive? We need to give the right training to the refugees if it is to have an impact,” Mr Nyang says.
He adds: “There are those who have trained in mechanics and motor vehicle maintenance but when they were given some tools to start, there was nowhere they could practice those skills.”
Over the last six years, different development partners and the government have implemented different livelihood interventions such as vocational training to equip refugees for self-reliance in the face of declining donor funding.
However, Mr Nyang says there is a mismatch between what refugees are given and what they need to survive.
“Sixty percent of those trained are redundant with their skills and they are a problem to the community because you find most of them in the market chewing mairungi,” he explains.
Ms Doris Abalo, the vice chairperson of Lamwo District, blames development partners for sidelining the district in the implementation of their projects.
“Most livelihood partners are not sharing their working documents with the district and it is affecting accountability and measurement of the relevancy of the different projects, both for the refugees and host communities,” Ms Abalo says.
What govt says
However, Mr Stephen Idha Koma, the assistant commissioner for district inspection at the Ministry of Local Government, says the interventions are to cater for the needs of refugees in future
“With jobs and livelihood, the skills the refugees acquire will be applied back home in South Sudan when peace returns,” he says.
“I know for example in Lamwo, there is Don Bosco Vocational Training School, some of the graduates of that school are already in South Sudan, they are working and others are here in Uganda working,” he added.
Mr Ezra Rubanda, the head of planning under Comprehensive Refugee Response Framework committee at the Office of the Prime Minister, acknowledges the challenges in refugees’ response, attributing the to limited coordination between the different development partners.
“Our partners are coming from an angle where they write their proposal. When they come here, they say they are working in Lamwo and Adjumani. They come and do whatever they feel like, go and they write their reports. And the local and national government doesn’t know,” he explains.
He adds: “These people never want the government to know where they are getting their funds, how much it is and what it is doing, it is a very big transparency issue.”