Joint Press Release: €2.5 million (10.5 Bn UGX) in EU humanitarian support for a joint project helping over 118 000 refugees in Uganda

Monday, August 12, 2019

Joint Press Release
€2.5 million (10.5 Bn UGX) in EU humanitarian support for a joint project helping over 118 000 refugees in Uganda.

The European Union is supporting Oxfam and other humanitarian organisations to continue assisting refugees from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and South Sudan hosted in three refugee settlements in Uganda. The funding, allocated to a fifteen-month project, will go towards improving access to clean water at the settlements, for refugees and host communities.

“We remain committed to contributing towards the refugee response in Uganda. With the additional pressure on water resources, our funding will be helping refugees and host communities at the settlements get a more reliable, sustainable, and safe water supply, thereby also contributing to the peaceful co-existence among communities,” says Christos Stylianides, the European Union’s Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management.

Over 118 000 people will be benefitting from this project that will be implemented at Imvepi and Omugo Settlements, in Arua District, and Kyaka II settlement in Kyegegwa district.

These three settlements have seen a significant increase in the number of refugee arrivals. As a result of this influx, existing water resources have become overstretched, creating a potential source of tension related to water access between refugees and host communities. Thanks to this project, water supply systems at the settlements, some of which were built with EU funding, are going to be improved and extended, providing communities with a sustainable and reliable source of water, together with an equitable access to it. Furthermore, rainwater harvesting tanks will be installed as an additional water supply. To ensure that the water is clean and safe, its quality will be regularly monitored and the operational capacity of the district water quality laboratory strengthened. This project will be complemented by actions that protect and promote public and personal health, including through awareness raising campaigns on hygiene. In fact, one of the general objectives of this project is to mitigate the risk of waterborne and other infectious diseases, such as Ebola or cholera.

Led by the international aid agency Oxfam-NL, the project will be implemented in cooperation with Engineers Without Borders USA (EWB-USA), Community Empowerment for Rural Development (CEFORD) and African Women and Youth Action for Development (AWYAD).

Speaking at the project launch meeting in Kampala, Moses Dombo, Country Director at Oxfam-NL, said: “This action is an equal partnership - there are no bigger or smaller partners. We are jointly accountable to our funders, to the people we will be serving and all the stakeholders. We commit to working together to make sure there is value for money.”

Technical expertise for this project will be in the hands of Engineers Without Borders-USA (EWB-USA). “EWB-USA will be in a position to provide critical engineering and technical support for the design, implementation and operation and maintenance of solar-powered water pumping systems already in place and those that will be put up by Oxfam,” said Zoe Pacciani, Country Director at EWB-USA.”

On a more general level, the project is also aimed at helping refugees and their host communities live peacefully together through a fair sharing of resources, dialogue and activities that bring people together. “We will also facilitate the processes of developing resource-sharing agreements among the refugees and hosts,” said Ritah Nansereko, Executive Director at AWYAD.
According to the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR), there are over 1.29 million refugees in Uganda. The numbers are likely go up as Uganda continues to receive refugees from the DRC, South Sudan and Burundi.

Background:

About EU Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid: The European Union and its Member States are the world's leading donor of humanitarian aid. Relief assistance is an expression of European solidarity with people in need all around the world. It aims to save lives, prevent and alleviate human suffering, and safeguard the integrity and human dignity of populations affected by natural disasters and man-made crises. Through the European Commission’s Civil Protection and Humanitarian aid Operations department, the European Union helps millions of victims of conflict and disasters every year. With headquarters in Brussels and a global network of field offices, the EU provides assistance to the most vulnerable people on the basis of humanitarian needs.

About the humanitarian organisations implementing the project:

Oxfam: Oxfam has been providing humanitarian assistance to South Sudanese refugees in West Nile (Adjumani, Arua and Yumbe Districts), in north-western Uganda, since January 2014. and for the DRC refugees in Kyaka II, Kyegegwa Districts since March 2018. Oxfam is involved in humanitarian projects that give refugees access to water, sanitation and hygiene, emergency food aid, and livelihood assistance to vulnerable people. Furthermore, it conducts actions aimed at providing protection to the people in need, including protection against gender-based violence.

Engineers Without Borders-USA (EWB-USA) in Uganda EWB-USA: an advisory organisation working on hundreds of engineering projects across the globe, has recently set a country office in Uganda. It focuses primarily on providing engineering and technical support in the water and energy sectors. In Uganda, EWB-USA is helping the sector to step up the quality of solar-powered water pumping systems through better design, installation, operation and maintenance.

African Women and Youth Action for Development (AWYAD):  AWYAD is a local organisation holding vast experience in development and humanitarian work. AWYAD is involved in humanitarian projects at Kyaka-II refugee settlement where it implements actions that provide refugees with emergency food aid, livelihood assistance to vulnerable people, and protection, with a particular focus on gender and the peaceful co-existence between communities.

Community Empowerment for Rural Development (CEFORD): CEFORD is a local non-profit humanitarian organisation that is involved in projects assisting refugees at Imvepi and Rhino settlements (Omugo extension) in West Nile. Its interventions at the settlements are aimed at providing access to clean water and hygiene, livelihood assistance and protection. CEFORD’s actions have also embedded within them the promotion of peaceful co-existence between refugees and host communities.