Uganda: Chance for disadvantaged people in a foreign country
Berlin / Kampala, 22 August 2018
The Kyganwali refugee settlement in Uganda is home to more than 100,000 refugees. The majority fled the violence in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. They are given a piece of land by the government in Uganda for house building and agricultural use, but this is rarely enough to support themselves. Together with the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), we are supporting the people in this situation.
Between December 2017 and today, the number of refugees living in the Kyganwali settlement has tripled, and 15 small villages have been built within two years. Despite having their own piece of land, most of the refugees in Kyganwali lack sufficient and diverse food, tools and seeds. Growing their own food under unusual circumstances, with volatile weather patterns and long periods of drought, is another challenge for the people. Self-sufficiency is hardly possible; the majority depend on food rations and financial support from the World Food Programme.
Focus lies on vulnerable groups
The situation is particularly precarious for people with disabilities or HIV. They are often physically unable to grow their own food or pick up the food rations offered. The health centres where people infected with HIV can be treated are also often difficult to reach and are long distances away. In addition, fear is unsettling for those affected. Many of the HIV infected people are stigmatised, which is why they do not make their illness public and thus do not seek treatment at all. Especially in the newly founded villages like Maratatu, Mombara and Kavule, aid programmes for vulnerable groups are not yet well established to reduce these disadvantages.
In May 2018, together with our local partner organisation ACORD, we launched a first pilot project to improve access to health services and aid programmes in these three villages as well as to reduce the stigmatisation and discrimination of diseases such as HIV. 353 vulnerable people organised themselves in networks and learned more about health, hygiene and nutrition. Theatre plays addressed the problems of the disadvantaged refugees, thus raising awareness of the stigmatisation and exclusion experienced.
Support within new village structures
Following this project, together with ACORD we are now supporting people from six villages of the refugee settlement. Savings and loan groups have been set up, which provide the financial basis to generate their own income. In training courses they learn a lot about nutrition, health, water and hygiene, but also human rights. Vegetable gardens set up jointly help them to improve food security. In this way, the people are given the opportunity to provide for themselves and lead a self-determined life.