Kampala (Agenzia Fides) - More than three thousand South Sudanese families and local refugees are assisted by a Caritas Uganda program in Yumbe district. The program, which lasts one year, is aimed at improving food security and the living standards of those assisted. "Malnutrition among the refugees remains high, particularly severe acute malnutrition, visible mainly among children below five", explained Godfrey Onentho, coordinator of Caritas Uganda and of the project for refugees in Bidibidi camp. "Yumbe District is well endowed with fertile soils, but the refugees do not have the farming implements and inputs for planting. It is for this reason that Caritas Uganda is planning for an intermediary response to provide targeted households with knowledge, skills and farming implements to produce food for themselves".
2400 will be households from the refugee camp itself and 600 will be households from the host community in order to avoid conflict between the two groups. It is also the policy of the Uganda Government (UG) that whatever support is given to the refugees 25 percent of it must go to the host communities site.
"In order to comply with this rule and avoid tension between the refugees and host community, we will train 60 youth from the refugee community and 20 from the host community in various areas such as catering, tailoring, metal fabrication, agriculture and farming, motor vehicle mechanic, hair dressing and beauty. Our expectation is that after the three months intensive training in the institutions within Northern Uganda the youth will become self-reliant", said the coordinator of Caritas Uganda. Caritas Uganda, in collaboration with Caritas Belgium and Trocaire started the distribution of seeds and agricultural tools. Uganda currently hosts more than 480,000 refugees residing in nine rural settlements.
These refugees rely heavily on external assistance. The time it takes for the refugees to achieve self-reliance depends on the duration of time spent in Uganda and access to productive land as well as the quality of their livelihoods. (L.M.) (Agenzia Fides 09/11/2016)