Strengthening resilience of refugees and their host communities
The project in brief
The project is implemented by Welthungerhilfe (WHH) - Uganda and partners. It began in June 2023 and is currently ongoing.
In Uganda's West Nile Region, Welthungerhilfe (WHH) has been active since 2012 (initially in the neighboring district of Adjumani). Since 2015, it has maintained an office at the Arua location, and since 2016 at the Yumbe location. The project presented here builds on the experiences and achievements working with refugees and host communities in previous and parallel projects in the region. The Main sectors covered are: Humanitarian Assistance, Nutrition, Water, Sanitation and Hygiene, Economic Development.
The project intends to promote increased agricultural production, avert malnutrition, value creation and income generation for women and young people. Additionally, families and groups should receive support, through existing structures, and become more resilient to external influences.
Main activities of the Good Practice
During this project period 900 households (ca. 4,500 people) will be supported with agricultural trainings and inputs to increase income generation and improve access to diversified food through farmer field schools.
Poor nutrition is still a challenge among refugees and host communities. The trends in anemia and malnutrition among these vulnerable groups are mostly linked to food insecurity, diseases, sub-optimal feeding and Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) practices. The project will build and strengthen the capacity of the nutrition structures.
The value chain in agro processing and storage structures will be strengthened and the training on new income-generating opportunities (especially for women) will be conducted to improve the quality of the products and increase sales among the members of the farmer field school groups. A farmer field school network will be created to improve access to inputs and market.
A high degree of cooperation between neighboring community members is achieved through the coordinated and sustainable use of resources and the strengthening of social cohesion through access to support networks and regular participation in group activities and dialogue platforms will be strengthened. The project will strengthen local mechanisms for conflict mitigation and transformation.
During this period, the project will engage in tree growing activities. The planted wood trees will serve on the one hand to compensate for the building material used under other project measures and on the other hand will later protect public institutions such as schools from strong winds and provide shade but also provide wood fuel for cooking.
Elements which helped facilitate the implementation of the good practice
We included government strategies in our intervention. One of the key strategies we have included was the Uganda Refugee and Host Population Empowerment (ReHoPE) strategy. A 70% ration goes to refugees in terms of our intervention and 30% goes to the host community. This paved the way to bring the refugee and host community together.
Welthungerhilfe is closely coordinating the implementation of its activities with OPM, UNHCR, WFP, District, local government, and all other development partners.
What challenges were encountered in delivering the project and how were they overcome?
One of the challenges was the concern related to the socioeconomic impact. The presence of a large refugee population can impact the local economy and social dynamics. Competition for limited resources and job opportunities can strain relations between refugees and host communities, potentially leading to tensions and social cohesion challenges.
How they were overcome
The Uganda Refugee and Host Population Empowerment (ReHoPE) strategy that was described earlier contributed – in combination with the project’s approach for promoting inclusive coexistence to tackle this challenge.
Results of the Good Practice
- Water supply and the hygiene situation has tremendously improved.
- Level of sanitation now around 75 percent in the refugee settlement.
- Most of the refugees are now involved in 1 or 2 petty businesses.
- A lot of kitchen gardening is taking place in the refugee settlement.
- Many young people in the settlement now are in a position to earn money on their own because of the vocational skills they acquired from the project.
- Nutrition on household level improved – agronomic practices and production including seed inputs like iron rich beans and orange-fleshed sweet potato as part of a nutritious diet were key.
In what way does the good practice meet one or more of the four objectives of the Global Compact on Refugees?
Objective 1: Ease the pressures on host countries
Value and income creation and the project components of increasing agricultural production and the associated prevention of malnutrition “eases the pressure on the host country (Uganda)” to provide aid.
Objective 2: Enhance refugee self-reliance
Self-reliance can be achieved through value and income creation that is one of the main achievements of the project.
Objective 4: Support conditions in countries of origin for return in safety and dignity
Satisfying basic needs such as sufficient and healthy food as well as value and income generation measures are also important foundations for being prepared to eventually “return to the country of origin” in the first place without falling back into hunger and poverty.
We would be very happy to continue our successful work to date if the appropriate funding is available.
Are there areas in which support would be required to continue and/or scale up your good practice?
Funding gaps are always an important issue for all organizations like ours, especially since funding for regions of the world that are not currently in the focus of global public attention is quickly being cut back. Cuts, such as those in the current German government's budget, further exacerbate this problem. However, projects like ours need long-term and reliable funding in order to achieve the greatest possible impact in the long term.
William Omara, Head of Project, Welthungerhilfe (WHH) - Uganda; Dirk Ebach, Senior Policy Advisor, Policy & External Relations, Welthungerhilfe (WHH) - Germany