Japan contribution of US$ 9.8 million is to support efforts towards refugees and host communities, border security as well as COVID-19 response in Uganda
By E K Benj updated at 7:30 GMT on Thursday, April 22
Uganda has opened its borders and welcomed indiscriminately any individual seeking refuge on its territory. Refugees in Uganda have access to healthcare, education, and more importantly, each refugee is allocated a piece of land on which to settle, build a home and grow crops. However, the situation is unsustainable and visible strains on public services have begun to appear, especially since refugee aid was recently cut substantially; a woman now receives the same amount of cereal recommended for a 3-year-old, according to World Vision.
The Uganda Solidarity Summit on Refugees aimed at raising support for the refugee and host communities, namely through investments, projects and development programs. Uganda, with a population of 39 million people, currently hosts 1,162,000 people of concern on its territory (including more than 940,000 refugees, stated UNHCR) and 928,000 are from South Sudan, the fastest growing refugee-producing country today, surpassing Afghanistan and Syria. Approximately 2000 South Sudanese flee their country every day, most of them going to Uganda which now hosts the largest refugee camp in the world; more than 250.000ple live in the Bidi Bidi camp; it overtook Kenya’s Dadaab camp earlier this year.
The Summit was able to raise 358 million dollars of the 2 billion dollars it was aiming for. It is reported that over the next four years, Uganda will need at least 8 billion dollars to continue its efforts in offering refuge to displaced populations.
On Tuesday 20 April 2021, The Government of Japan announced US$ 9.8 million to support refugees and host communities as well as border security, with a strong focus on mitigating the COVID-19 impacts, over a period of one year from April 2021 to March 2022.
The support has been channeled through the United Nations and International Organizations: the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), the United Nations Entity for the Gender Equality and the empowerment of Women (UN Women), the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP), the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the International Organization for Migration (IOM), and the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
“Japan recognizes that the humanitarian situation in refugee-hosting areas is devastating, especially under the spread of the COVID-19. Therefore, the 2021’s contribution has been made with a specific focus on mitigating the impacts of the COVID-19 to the vulnerable population, including refugees, host community members, women and children in Uganda. Acknowledging Uganda’s generous progressive refugee policy and needs for humanitarian–development supports, the Government of Japan is determined to continue to support Uganda’s solidarity with refugees and host communities,” said Ambassador Fukuzawa.
Honourable Hilary Onek, Minister of Relief, Disaster Preparedness and Refugees, who attended the press conference said, “On behalf of the Government of Uganda I would like to take this opportunity to thank the Government of Japan through the Ambassador of Japan in Uganda for the generosity exhibited towards the refugee community.The Government of Uganda commends the Government of Japan for their tireless efforts and support to Uganda, indeed Japan will always remain a true partner to Uganda. I am here to emphasize to the world Uganda’s generosity despite the scarcity of resources and to retaliate Uganda’s open door policy. Uganda, as a country, holds a special place on the world stage when it comes to refugees. ”
Speaking on behalf of the UN system in Uganda, H.E. Rosa Malango, the UN Resident Coordinator, said, “I would like to applaud the government and people of Japan for this valuable contribution to the global efforts in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic as well as to the advancement of the human security in Uganda.”
Present at the press conference were representatives of the involved UN agencies: Mr. Joel Boutroue (UNHCR Uganda Representative); Mr. Alain Sibenaler (UNFPA Uganda Representative); Dr. Munir Safieldin (UNICEF Uganda Representative); Ms. Sheila Ngatia (UNDP Uganda Deputy Resident Representative); Ms. Adekemi Ndieli (UN Women Uganda Deputy Country Representative); Mr. Robert Ackatia-Armah (WFP Uganda Head of Food Systems & Nutrition); Mr. Olivier Balagizi (IOM Uganda IBM Project Officer); and Mr. Jason Yauney (IFPRI Uganda, Country Representative).
The assistance has been provided to help meet the objectives the Global Compact on Refugees (GRC) through the implementation of the Comprehensive Refugee Response Framework (CRRF) in Uganda, a whole-of-society approach which, under the Government’s leadership, rallies support among a wide range of stakeholders including UN agencies, International Financial Institutions, development and humanitarian partners and the private sector to improve delivery of services for refugees and the communities hosting them.
Uganda is the largest refugee hosting country in Africa with more than 1.45 million refugees and asylum-seekers, including 83 percent women and children. Majority of the refugees and asylum seekers in Uganda originate from South Sudan, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Burundi. Uganda’s refugee laws and policies are among the most progressive in the world. Refugees and asylum seekers are entitled to work, have freedom of movement and can access social services.
UNHCR: Has received US$2,500,000 towards the provision of minimum health care package in Bidibidi refugee settlement, protection services in several settlements in northern Uganda and promotion of livelihood opportunities for refugee and host communities through UNHCR-JICA cooperation on rice promotion in Rwamwanja, Rhino Camp and Adjumani settlements. The project is implemented within the context of the CRRF. The fund specifically supports the continuation and expansion of UNHCR-JICA cooperation on rice promotion and farming for refugees and their hosts; access to primary health care for over 232,000 refugee and host communities in Bidibidi as well as preparedness and response for outbreak of epidemics; community-based protection interventions to improve prevention and response to gender-based violence, child protection and mental health and psychosocial support.
UNFPA: Has received US $1,515,918 to increase availability and utilization of integrated sexual reproductive health and rights (SRHR) and gender based violence (GBV) services among refugees and host communities in target refugee hosting districts in South-Western and Northern Uganda during the COVID-19 pandemic. UNFPA will support the strengthening of the functionality of Health Centers IVs in refugee hosting districts and support community demand creation to reduce maternal mortality among refugees and host communities. In addition, survivors of GBV will be provided with preventive prophylaxis, treatment and referrals for psychosocial support and information, and community mechanisms for early identification of SGBV victims, referral pathways and psychosocial support systems will be strengthened. The refugee response part of the project will be implemented in the refugee hosting districts of Isingiro, Kamwenge, Kyegegwa, Kikuube and Lamwo.
UN Women: Has received US $ 1,154,817 to empower over 4,000 women and girl refugees and hosts (direct) and 8,000 (indirect) to mitigate the impact of multiple crises on their livelihoods, protect themselves from exposure to gender-based violence, and participate in decision-making processes within their communities in 3 refugee hosting districts of Adjumani, Yumbe and Terego. The proposed project builds on UN Women’s experience and achievement in promoting the resilience, self-reliance, leadership, and protection of refugee women achieved in the last four years in Uganda’s refugee hosting districts. Key strategies will involve support to women farmers to engage in Climate Smart Agriculture; women and youth increased access to second chance education livelihood initiatives; access to ICT facilities and equipment, digitalised Village Savings and Loan Associations and cash for work opportunities. Transformational leadership skills, legal aid, psychosocial support as well as positive gender norms will be promoted in support of women’s leadership and protection from violence.
UNICEF: Has received US$1,146,981 for emergency assistance for the prevention of further spread of COVID-19 Infection. With the funds received, UNICEF will play a key role in the COVID-19 health response, including risk communication action in 3 refugee hosting districts and the COVID-19 high-risk districts of Karamoja sub-region including: Isingiro, Kikuube, Kyegegwa, Abim, Amudat, Kaabong, Karenga, Napak, Nabilatuk, Nakapiripirit, Moroto and Kotido. In addition, UNICEF aims to improve the nutrition status of children and mothers in the districts of: Abim, Amudat, Kaabong, Karenga, Napak, Nabilatuk, Nakapiripirit, Moroto and Kotido. UNICEF will also undertake key WASH interventions in Kikuube and Kamwenge Districts. Finally, UNICEF will support emergency preparedness and response capacity building of Disaster Management committees in Koboko, Obongi, Kasese, Bundibugyo, Karenga, and Nakapiripirit districts.
WFP: Has received US$1,000,000 to introduce a programme that will improve access to nutritious food among refugees and Ugandans in host communities. WFP will provide fresh-food vouchers to cover critical food needs of pregnant and nursing women and children aged 6-23 months while promoting social behavioural change. In addition, the organization will provide seed vouchers to promote the production of fast-maturing nutritious foods. WFP will stimulate demand for nutritious foods while causing households to produce and consume more high-value crops throughout the value chain.
UNDP: Has received US$880,000 to support and mitigate the effects of COVID-19 on household food security and environmental restoration. This proposed project will bridge the Humanitarian-Development-Peace nexus by providing green livelihoods options for resilience-building for refugees and host communities with a focus on women and youth. This will include vocational skills-building, MSME development and access to finance, clean energy solutions to provide energy access to health facilities to selected refugee hosting districts, while providing peace education for peaceful co-existence between refugee and host communities.
IOM: Has received US$ 375,000 to contribute to strengthening border management to mitigate risk of terrorism from land and maritime borders in the context of COVID-19 in Uganda. IOM is working with the Ministry of Internal Affairs through the Directorate of Citizenship and Immigration Control (DCIC), and other relevant partners, to improve capacity and preparedness of border management agencies to identify and respond to terrorist groups at ports of entry through provision of specialized trainings and development of inter-agency data sharing Standard Operating Procedures (SOP), as well as enhancement of critical infrastructure against terrorist attacks by the provision of maritime security counterterrorism response equipment to DCIC.
IFPRI: Has received US$1,224,290 to vitalize rural livelihoods in the northern region that is hosting a large influx of refugees by introducing a program, SHEP promoted by Japan, that aims to improve the market profitability of horticulture and thus increase incomes and employment for small farmers. In collaboration with Sasakawa Africa Association (SAA), the intervention adopts an innovative method of training local farmers under the concept of “produce strategically to sell.” The project will contribute to stabilizing and boosting farm incomes in vulnerable, refugee-hosting communities and will build resilience of local livelihoods to COVID-19.
Statement by H.E. Rosa Malango, the UN Resident Coordinator and Designated Official for Security.
On behalf of the UN Family in Uganda, I am very pleased to witness yet another important announcement of a contribution from the Government of Japan to Uganda as part of a long-standing partnership for sustainable development and transformation. Japan is a critical partner for the Government of Uganda and the United Nations. The contribution announced today of US$ 9.8 million from the Government of Japan willsupport refugee and host communities, border security as well asthe COVID-19 response in Uganda.
I would like to applaud the government and people of Japan for this valuable contribution to the global efforts in the fight against COVID-19 as well as to the advancement of the human security in Uganda. We are aware that the fight against COVID-19 in Japan is at the critical moment. In times of the pandemic the support from Japan is critical for vulnerable communities in Uganda such as women and children refugees to address challenges in areas of livelihoods, nutrition, health and food security that have been negatively affected by the social and economic consequences of COVID-19. We would like to express sincere sympathy to those affected by the virus in Japan and thank you for extending your support at such a critical time. Japan’s sustained investment in Uganda’s future generations speaks to its global leadership on sustainable development and its long-standing partnership with Uganda, and Africa. In fact, Japan’s longstanding contribution to the development of Africa can be seen in the Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD) meetings in partnership with the United Nations. The next TICAD 8 will be held in Tunisia in 2022.
The current support from Japan is making a difference, an example is that it enabled us to sustain throughout 2020 essential health services uninterrupted in Bidibidi, Africa’s largest refugee settlement, mitigating the risks and impact of COVID-19.
Today’s contribution from Japan will enable the UN system,technically led by UNHCR, including UNICEF, UNDP, UNFPA, UN Women, IOM and WFP to collectively support 1.4 millionrefugees in settlements in South-Western and Northern Uganda for the next 12 months. Allow me to mention a few areas this assistance will focus on:
UNHCR will support provision of minimum health care, protection services in several settlements in northern Uganda and promotion of livelihood opportunities for refugee and host communities through rice promotion.
UNFPA will support strengthening of Health Centers in refugee hosting districts and support community demand to reduce maternal mortality among refugees and host communities.
UNICEF plans to reach 1,863,460 beneficiaries by playing a key role in the COVID-19 response, including risk communication action in three refugee hosting districts and the COVID-19 high-risk districts of Karamoja sub-region.
WFP will provide fresh-food vouchers to cover critical food needs of pregnant and nursing women and children aged 6-23 months while promoting social behavioural change. In addition, they will provide seed vouchers to promote the production of fast-maturing nutritious foods.
UNDP will bridge the Humanitarian-Development-Peace nexus by providing green livelihoods options for resilience-building for refugees and host communities with a focus on women and youth.
UN Women will support to women farmers to engage in Climate Smart Agriculture; women and youth to increase access to second chance education livelihood initiatives; access to ICT facilities and equipment, digitalised Village Savings and Loan Associations and cash for work opportunities.
IOM will contribute to strengthening border management to mitigate risk of terrorism from land and maritime borders in the context of COVID-19 in Uganda.
As I conclude and we embark on the implementation of our UN Sustainable Development Cooperation Framework for Uganda for 2021-2025 closely aligned to the NDP III and Uganda Vision 2040, we remain committed to leveraging new partnerships in the spirit of the UN reform to work with the people and Governments of Uganda and all other Member States to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals. Together we can ensure the new normal is a pathway to achieving the national Vision 2040, the African Union Vision 2063 and the 2030 Agenda pledge to leave no one behind.
On 10 March, Ambassador Fukuzawa officiated in the commissioning of a newly constructed agricultural store in Angetta Parish, Omoro Sub-county, Alebtong District. “The Project for Income Generation through the Construction of an Agricultural Store in Alebtong District” was signed between the Embassy of Japan and Agency For Sustainable Rural Transformation (AFSRT) in 2018 with a total grant of USD 84,856 equivalent to over 289 million Ug. Shs.
Angetta United Farmers Cooperative Society has more than 1,000 members. Due to the lack of proper storage facilities, the farmers were forced to sell out their crops at very low prices. As a response to this challenge, the Embassy of Japan supported AFSRT to construct an agricultural store with a drying yard and latrine block with a water tank as well as to supply a post harvesting kit for Angetta Parish.
The support is part of the Grant Assistance for Grassroots Human Security Projects (GGP), a scheme administered by the Embassy of Japan to fund community development projects which uplift the life of people at the grassroots level. So far, a total of 267 projects have been funded under the scheme since its initiation in Uganda in 1992.