200,000 refugees and hosts helped through EU funded consortium in West Nile

Monday, November 19, 2018

Kampala, Uganda xxx 2018 – The international aid organisation Oxfam and partners have successfully concluded a UGX 21 billion project that was funded with European Union Humanitarian Aid and supported over 200,000 South Sudanese refugees and their host communities in West Nile region. Oxfam was the lead organisation in a consortium that included CARE International, Save The Children and CEFORD, a local organisation.

The project, launched at the beginning of last year, provided water, sanitation and hygiene services to refugees and host communities in Yumbe, Arua, Moyo and Adjumani districts. The most vulnerable refugees also benefited from new semi-permanent homes and services to keep them safe from violence and disease.

Three solar powered water systems were put up and 10 hand pumps drilled to improve access to clean water. The safe water supply greatly helped to improve hygiene and sanitation practices and, by extension, reduce the cases of water borne diseases like diarrhea and malaria.

“The European Union grant was timely. We were able to respond to the basic needs of refugees including water, shelter and protection at the peak of the influx in April 2017,” says Theophillus Emanu, Oxfam Field Response Manager.

“We started with water trucking and constructing temporary shelters. As the number of refugees coming in per day reduced, we embarked on more permanent and sustainable interventions like putting up motorised piped water systems, household latrines, as well as centres to handle gender and protection cases. We appreciate how much difference this project has created although gaps still exist as refugees strive to build resilience in their new home,’’ he adds.

As the number of school-going children increased, 36 Early Childhood Care and Development (ECCD) centres were set up by Save the Children to ensure that children are protected and get a chance to learn and play.

“The ECCD centres have provided safe spaces where children can exercise their right to play, associate and enjoy their childhood,” says Cephas Hamba, Save the Children Project Manager. “7,835 children have been attended to by our caregivers to address their traumas, isolation and nightmares resulting from the tragedies they experienced back in South Sudan,” adds Hamba.

Over 14,000 vulnerable people were reached with special care for sexual and gender-based violence, illness or for being elderly or physically disabled.

“The link between access to improved water, sanitation and hygiene services and prevention of gender based violence has proven evident through this intervention. Our integrated approach has given many women and girls their dignity back,” says Delphine Pinault, CARE Uganda Country Director.

While so many lives have been transformed by this project, a lot still remains to be done. Funding for the South Sudan crisis remains low with a glaring gap of 62%. The government of Uganda, in coordination with UNHCR, still needs $541.5million to respond effectively according to the last appeal.

The consortium appreciates the EU’s humanitarian support for the project which has not only transformed the lives of refugees and host communities but has also created a partnership among agencies committed to building sustainability of host communities and refugees.

Key facts about the project

  • 236,982 refugees and host communities reached by the ECHO project
  • 207,289 people have access to safe and clean water
  • 228,441 – reached by the gender and protection interventions

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About Oxfam:

Oxfam is an international confederation of 19 affiliates networked together in more than 80 countries committed to ridding the world of poverty and injustice. In Uganda, Oxfam is working towards ending inequality and injustice.

With our humanitarian work, Oxfam and its local partners is reaching thousands of refugees with assistance that includes the provision of clean water, sanitation and hygiene promotion, emergency food and livelihoods support, and awareness creation about gender and protection issues. The rising number of refugees continues to create major public health risks, threatening the protection of vulnerable groups and increasing the risk of SGBV, particularly for women and girls. Insufficient water and sanitation in some settlements increases the risk of water and sanitation related diseases (including cholera, other diarrheal diseases and malaria), and threatens the safety and dignity of refugees. Oxfam and our partners are working to address these risks.

About EU 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 towards 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 its Civil Protection and Humanitarian aid Operations department (ECHO), 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 CARE International: Care International in Uganda is dedicated to fighting poverty and social injustice. It places special emphasis on investing in women and girls based on six decades of experience that shows empowerment that benefits the whole community. CARE Uganda has been working in the West Nile Region of Uganda since 2014 and due to the influx of South Sudanese refugees in 2016, it has increased its operational presence and response in refugee settlements.

About Save the Children: Save the Children (SCI) is the world’s leading independent child rights organization with a dual mandate to do development and emergency work around the globe. SCI’s mission is to influence and inspire breakthroughs in way the world treats children and to achieve immediate and lasting change in their lives by promoting the realization of their rights to survival, protection, development, and participation.

About CEFORD: CEFORD is a local NGO, one of the NGOs that Oxfam has built capacity to respond to humanitarian crises. The organization envisions “An Empowered Poverty Free Society” with the mission to provide capacity development services that build the resilience of disadvantaged women, men, youth, children, to realize their rights and improve their wellbeing. Since 2014, CEFORD has been responding to the South Sudan refugee crisis with support from Oxfam, in Arua, Adjumani and Yumbe districts in West Nile.

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