Govt Urged to Increase Funding for Refugee Hosting Districts

2192 Views Kampala, Uganda

In short
UN Resident coordinator Rosa Malango says that local governments hosting refugee communities are working on stringent budgets yet they are mandated to cater for the needs of refugees and natives in their jurisdictions. Malango was speaking during a workshop on Ugandas refugee policy at Imperial Royale Hotel in Kampala today.

The United Nations has asked Government of Uganda to increase its support towards refugee hosting communities in a bid to better services to the host and refugee communities.

UN Resident coordinator Rosa Malango says that local governments hosting refugee communities are working on stringent budgets yet they are mandated to cater for the needs of refugees and natives in their jurisdictions. Malango was speaking during a workshop on Uganda's refugee policy at Imperial Royale Hotel in Kampala today.

She observes a need to additional funding to boost the capacity of local governments to provide social services to the 5.2 million Ugandans and the 1.3 million refugees in hosting districts.

She says the people in refugee hosting districts are working so hard with the little support and enhancing their ability is paramount.
 
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Uganda hosts 1.3 million refugees majority of them from South Sudan where four years of violence have displaced more than 1 million people. Most of the refugees, who arrived since July, last year are hosted in the districts of Adjumani, Moyo, Koboko, Arua, Kiryandongo, Isingiro and Kyegegwa.

Adjumani Chief Administrative Officer-CAO Andrew Mawejje underscores the need for funding to improve service delivery in host communities. He says that pupils in refugee hosting communities study in turns, health facilities are operating on verandas while in many cases hospitals can only prescribe but not provide drugs.

He calls for a thorough study to ascertain the financial need for the refugee boom.
 
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Meanwhile Prime Minister Dr Ruhakana Rugunda said that government will pay much more attention to the needs of refugee hosting communities. He says that the forthcoming solidarity summit will look at ways of raising funds for local governments.
He added that Uganda will continue to be open to refugees, and only call upon the world for support.
 
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Uganda was chosen as a role model for pioneering a comprehensive approach to refugee protection that complements humanitarian responses with targeted development action, benefiting both refugees and the communities hosting them.

This was adopted as part of the New York Declaration on Refugees and Migrants at the UN General Assembly last year, and is now also being rolled out in other displacement crises - offering hope to millions of refugees worldwide.

According to the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), Uganda's approach to dealing with refugees has long been among the "most progressive" anywhere on the African continent but the sheer scale of the influx has placed enormous strain on its services and infrastructure.

Each refugee in Uganda is entitled to a 50 by 50 plot of land for cultivation and settlement, materials for construction of a shelter and daily food rations for a period of at least one year. They are also integrated to access health care and education with the community they live in. They have a right to work and do business but also have freedom of movement.

In northern Uganda, where the vast majority of South Sudanese refugees are being hosted, the land has been donated by the local host community, an outstanding display of generosity towards people fleeing war and conflict.

However, in the face of severe under funding and the fastest-growing refugee emergency in the world, Uganda's ability to realize a model that allows refugees to thrive now risks being jeopardized - and the future of the new comprehensive refugee response framework thrown into question.

 

About the author

Alex Otto
“Journalism that changes lives is my goal,” Alex Otto has said on more than one occasion. That is his career’s guiding principle. Has been since he was a radio journalist in the northern Ugandan town of Gulu in 2009.

Otto passionately believes his journalism should bring to the fore the voices of the voiceless like the shooting victims of Apaa. Otto tries in his journalism to ask tough questions to those in positions of authority.

Based in the Kampala bureau, Otto is especially interested in covering agriculture, politics, education, human rights, crime, environment and business. He has reported intensively on the post-conflict situation in northern Uganda.

A URN staff member since 2014, Otto previously worked with The Observer Newspaper from 2012 to 2013 and later the Institute for War and Peace Reporting IWPR based in Gulu.

He was the URN Gulu bureau chief 2014-2016.