Who is a leader?

This is the question the Country Director Peter Kamalingin posed to the refugee community of Rhino Refugee Settlement in Arua district northern Uganda during a recent monitoring visit.

Speaking to the community which included the Dynamic Youth Music and Dance Group, Hygiene promoters, religious leaders, teachers, and representatives from our partner CEFORD Peter said leadership is about finding solutions to problems affecting people. He said, “a leader is an initiator, the one who sees what others are not seeing, anticipates what is good for the people he or she is leading.” He encouraged people to embrace leadership at different levels from family to the broader community.

The purpose of the visit to learn what’s obtaining on the ground in the humanitarian response. He noted that despite immense efforts directed at refugee communities, the challenges are enormous with increasing numbers of refugees presently over 1,350,000.

Peter said that even in the midst of these challenges, it is important to encourage persons of concern to believe in themselves as it is the only way they will be emboldened to be change agents. He encouraged the community particularly the youth, to dream big and strive to become independent. He also challenged development actors to be strategic and complement each other efforts so as not to duplicate work.

Community representative Rambo Joseph Eli during his welcome speech said the community was pleased with Oxfam efforts which are people centred. He said, “we are happy that the head of Oxfam in Uganda made time to visit what he planted, if you plant something, you need to visit it and see to its growth”.

During the meeting, the Dynamic Music and Drama Youth Group made various performances with a notable skit on health advocacy, hygiene promotion and the importance valuing agricultural tools.

While concluding the meeting, Peter thanked community members for their time, insightful discussions and challenged them to demonstrate leadership by partnering with Oxfam and other development partners in finding lasting solutions to the challenges they face.