Refugees, host communities in West Nile, Kiryadongo receive Shs4.6b grant 

L-R: Enabel's International Finance and Contract Coordinator Ms Katrien Gielis Secretary Social services for Arua City Ms Kalsum Fadmula, the Head of Section for Sustainable Development for the European Union, Ms Nadia Cannata and other officials pose with a dummy cheque during the signing of the grant on December 1, 2022. PHOTO/ FELIX WAROM OKELLO 

What you need to know:

  • The Shs4.6 billion grant was awarded on Thursday afternoon at Muni National Teacher’s College in Arua City to Edukans Education Services, Welthungerhilfe and Windle International conducting humanitarian activities in the settlement camps across the two regions

The refugees and host communities in West Nile Sub-region and Kiryadongo District have received Shs4.6 billion grant from the European Union under the European Union Emergency Trust Fund for Africa to three organisations to provide skills in order for them to earn a living. 
 
The Shs4.6 billion grant was awarded on Thursday afternoon at Muni National Teacher’s College in Arua City to Edukans Education Services, Welthungerhilfe and Windle International conducting humanitarian activities in the settlement camps across the two regions.  
Since the influx in 2015 and 2016, the refugees have depended on handouts from humanitarian organisations. But now there is a shift from the handouts to ensuring that the refugees and host communities are trained in various educational disciplines of carpentry and joinery, bakery, salon business, agriculture among others in order to earn a living independently.  
The funds provided through the Support to Skilling Uganda (SSU) project implemented by Enabel and the Ministry of Education will facilitate the training of 1,210 refugees in the districts of Yumbe, Arua, Madi Okollo, Terego, Adjumani and Kiryadongo.  
The Enabel country representative, Mr Tom Vanneste says the project started in 2017 and has to date trained more than 5,000 refugee and host community youth, women and girls.  
 
“The Tracer studies indicate that nearly 7 out of 10 trained people either get employed or start their own enterprises within six months after graduation. We want the training of the youths and women to be strictly aligned to demands of the labour market so that they can produce quality products to earn income,” Vanneste says.  
The Head of Section for Sustainable Development for the European Union, Ms Nadia Cannata, said:  “Through this project, we will support increased access to quality skills development through vocational training and provision of entrepreneurial skills. This action contributes to the development of sustainable livelihoods through creation of income generating activities for both refugee and host communities.” 
 
She added: “We need long lasting solutions to the beneficiaries through funding which will empower the refugees and host communities to get skills and earn income on their own. We believe there is a need to be able to get feedback from the beneficiaries and the good stories from them makes us plan more for them.”
 
The project 
The Support to Skilling Uganda project is to increase access to quality skills development through vocational & entrepreneurship skills training, provision of startup kits and post training business development support. The project is running from 2021 till 2024. 
 
The District Chairman for Yumbe district, Mr Abulmutwalib Asiku, said: “Food rations have been reduced from 14 kilograms to 4 Kilograms per person. This cannot be sustainable in a month. So, the training and startup kits that will be given should be used to start businesses where money can be generated. And we are asking for 50-50 per cent support to both refugees and host communities.” 

The OPM representative from Refugee Desk Office in Arua, Mr Fred Buzu, said: “We should help these refugees to have their products certified by UNBS so that they can be sold in the market and earn more money. These are very good products which are produced locally and can be used to boost income.”
Some of the refugees and host communities who have benefitted from the earlier project are now making soap, liquid soap, honey, clothes among others. Some have opened up shops of various products and salons which income they use to supplement what is given to them. 
Uganda hosts over 1.2 million refugees mainly from South Sudan, Democratic Republic of Congo, Somalia, Burundi and Rwanda. 
 

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