Oxfam Distributes Cash to Over 1,000 Refugees with Special Needs

Oxfam officials verifying Refugees with special needs during cash distribution exercise in Imvepi Photo By Robert Ariaka/Oxfam

In a bid to promote Water, Sanitation and household health under WASH, Oxfam awarded cash benefits to refugees with special needs in the settlements of Imvepi and Omugo. At the close of 2019, refugees with special needs happily received cash from Oxfam.

Paul Oloya, the Consortium Coordinator for ECHO Project Oxfam Uganda said the WASH and protection project is planned for 15months. The project is made possible through funding by the European Commission’s Humanitarian Aid Department (ECHO).

The cash component support given to refugees world over helps in humanitarian interventions and development of refugees in settlements through unrestricted cash.

In West Nile, in the settlements of Omugo and Imvepi, 1,480 persons with special needs benefited from the cash grant distribution in December spread through a period of one week. Each PSN got UGX 115,000 towards the purchase of basic items for the promotion of WASH activities based on the local unit cost. Each refugee is expected to buy WASH-related items that they may not have in their households. These include jerrycans, soap, sanitary pads, handwashing facilities, buckets, basins.

Every three months, the refugees shall receive money; this amount reduced to UGX 28,700 for soap and sanitary pads for women and girls.

A total of 3,700 households are targeted and 18,500 distributions for the households. UGX 900 million is budgeted for the project for PSN refugees in the 15 months project.

Sunday, the secretary of PSNs from village 9, zone 1 in Imvepi settlement said she helps identify refugees with special needs and refers them to be given support. She said the over 150 PSNs in her village, most are vulnerable children separated from their parents, adults who have reached the age of 60 and above including disabled persons.

The money helps them procure soap, jerry cans, basins, sanitary kits and the purpose of the money is to promote WASH activities among persons with special interest needs.

Sunday says this is the first time Oxfam is giving out money to PSNs to improve their lives.

Single mother Gladys, a refugee from Yei River state in South Sudan benefited from the grant as her three-year-old is very weak and unable to walk. Her child needed special attention and basic needs for sanitation, but Sida said she lacked the money to procure those items. She needed but lacked jerry cans, basins, and soap, but the support from Oxfam has helped her buy the items.

When Sida arrived in Uganda in February 23, 2016 as a refugee; she disclosed her challenges at the reception center and a house for her and the child was constructed.

Sida also lays bricks and sales to organisations to build houses for other vulnerable persons. She sales each unburnt brick at UGX 200.

34 year old Remo from village 12, zone 1 in Imvepi settlement said it is a good initiative to give refugees money to solve the problem of refugees selling their food ration to buy other items. “I will deposit the money in mobile money and utilize it slowly,” Remo said.

18 year old Neima from village 1 in zone 1 in Imvepi settlement said, without money, she faced the challenge of grinding maize, buying sandals and other items.

From a family of six, Neima said she received UGX 115,000 and this money will help her buy missing household items. “Sometimes I sell food ration to buy other missing items for home use and for changing diet” Neima said.

Oxfam, with funding from European Union Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid, is running a project on integrated WASH, Shelter and Protection Response. The project, implemented in a consortium with Engineers Without Borders-USA, AWYAD and CEFORD, supports refugees and host communities living in Imvepi and Rhino Camp settlements in West Nile and Kyaka II refugee settlement in southwestern Uganda. The project is aimed at the provision of safe water, proper sanitation and hygiene measures, which are essential for survival and prevention of diseases.