At least 7,200 nationals and South Sudanese refugees in Lamwo, Adjumani and Obongi districts have started benefiting from a livelihood project worth Shs 33bn.
Launched last year with financial support of USD 7m from Korea International Cooperation Agency, KOICA, and USD 2m from the United Nations Development Programme, UNDP, the project is dubbed “Uganda Host and Community Empowerment Project”.
The project, which was designed to last four years, aims to address food insecurity, environmental degradation and conflicts among refugee and the host community in the three districts. It is being implemented by World Vision, Save the Children and Centre for Domestic Violence Prevention,
Raymond Mukisa, the project manager at KOICA said under the project hundreds of youths will benefit from skills training and cash for work, while women will receive business grants to boost their existing businesses.
In Adjumani district, landlords in Ukusijoni sub-county offered over 30 acres of land on which the beneficiaries have planted food crops like maize, yams, rice, beans and teak trees.
Dominic Harambe, the LC III of Ukusijoni said the land was offered through a mutual understanding between the Office of the Prime Minister, sub-county leadership, landowners and the refugees.
Grace Auma, is a group member at Golisi Amatura, which has 30 beneficiaries of the project, comprising both nationals and refugees. She said they have already harvested the beans they planted three months ago, and are ready to sell the surplus.
Auma, who also received cash for work, said she used the money to start a pig rearing business, which she believes will improve her income.
“I received Shs 220, 000 under cash for work, and I bought two piglets for the start of my piggery project,” Auma said.
Keji Isaac, another beneficiary of the project, said the Uganda Host and Community Empowerment Project has created harmony between the refugees and members the host community.
“We have our social differences but have learned to be tolerant of each other because we now work as a team to achieve our common goals,” Keji said.
Titus Jogo, the Adjumani Refugee Desk Officer said there was need to empower the refugees to become self-reliant because it is uncertain when they will be able to return home.
His Royal Highness, Stephen Drani, the paramount chief of the Madi people, said the cultural institution would keep on supporting initiatives aimed at spurring development among the refugees and the host community.
“As a cultural institution we made sure land was made available to settle the refugees because we want our brothers and sisters to live in dignity and enjoy the peace in our country,” Drani said.
Stephen Koma, assistant Commissioner at the Ministry of Local government, also the focal point person for KOICA, said the project was vital because it is supplementing the inadequate food rations refugees receive from the World Food Program.
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