Pledge matched: Belgium and Uganda unite
Uganda is the fifth -largest refugee-hosting country in the world with over 1.5 million refugees and asylum seekers as of October 2021. The Government of Uganda has afforded substantial protection for refugees through the 2006 Refugee Act and the 2010 Refugee Regulations, which facilitate access to national services including water and healthcare for refugees and promotes social cohesion among refugees and host communities, many of whom live alongside one another.
At the first Global Refugee Forum (GRF) in 2019, the Government of Uganda made a range of pledges. From maintaining its progressive, open door refugee policy and providing quality education for children, to improving access to healthcare and implementing agricultural economy projects, the pledges aim to improve the lives and resilience of refugees and host communities.
Since the GRF in 2019, pledging entities and stakeholders have been encouraged to participate in pledge-matching – pairing policy opportunities with financial or other support to ensure commitments can be met.
In line with one of their pledges, the Government of Uganda has included refugees in the National Development Plan III 2020/21-2024/25 and district development planning. By doing so, they can take into consideration the needs of the entire population in the district when planning development of infrastructures and analysing access to basic services. This in turn helps to align the humanitarian response to priorities and policies, facilitating people-centred, meaningful responsibility sharing from the international community.
As a demonstration of pledge matching in action, the Government of Belgium recently finalised an agreement with UNHCR to financially support the objectives outlined in this pledge, with a contribution of USD 3,529,412 to provide and improve refugee and host communities’ access to safe water, in line with Uganda's national development plan, in the Southwest and Mid-West, as well as healthcare services in nearly all settlements and Kampala.
The funding will run for 12 months, to the end of 2022.
Interventions in the Water Sector seek to double the supply of clean water in certain regions, while improving and transferring two water supply systems to the National Water and Sewerage Corporation and regional umbrella utilities, improving efficiency and strengthening the delivery of safe water.
In the same timeframe, the healthcare programme aims to improve the system in a range of areas, from increased primary care consultations and higher rate of women giving birth while monitored by skilled staff, to comprehensive responses to disease outbreaks and monthly community dialogues to improve access to and availability of health services.
This funding from Belgium will contribute to the inclusion of 1,254,000 refugees and 1,121,000 members of host communities – nearly 2.5 million people – in accessing basic and essential services.