Kampala, Uganda — The European Union (EU) has reaffirmed its commitment to continue to provide humanitarian assistance and development support to refugees and host communities in Uganda as part of the national refugee response.
The support of the European Union to the Government of Uganda is crucial to provide life-saving humanitarian and longer-term development assistance to refugees and host communities in Uganda.
Since 2016, the European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations have supported the delivery of humanitarian assistance across sectors with €250 million, while the EU Trust Fund for Africa (EUTF) in Uganda has committed €82 million to work with the Government of Uganda in several sectors benefitting both refugees and host communities.
Speaking at an event at Makerere University, during a dialogue between the government, student body, and fellow development partners, Ambassador Jan Sadek said "the EU is proud to be one of the key partners of Uganda in supporting the national refugee response". He continued by commending the Government of Uganda's open-door refugee policy, stating that it is "considered progressive globally, inspiring other countries around the world".
"We have identified priority areas for EU-funded interventions which include livelihoods and skills development, environmental protection and disaster risk reduction, governance, and access to justice and protection. We applaud the government of Uganda for continuing to provide a safe haven to displaced people. We intend to continue to provide funding through these priority areas to build resilience and transform the quality of lives of refugees and host communities."
Uganda hosts over 1.5 million refugees, the largest refugee population in Africa. About 80% are women and children.
According to UNHCR data, as of September 2022, 96,000 refugees have fled conflicts in the Democratic Republic of Congo and South Sudan creating surging humanitarian needs for life-saving assistance and services.
"Uganda continues to receive and grant asylum to refugees in accordance with both international and national legal frameworks. With support from the European Union, we can provide better social services, support improved livelihoods for refugees and host communities and settle refugees. We are willing to continue to work with the European Union to strengthen the national refugee response," said Innocent Ndahirwe, Head of Refugee Integration & Legal Matters at the Department of Refugees in the Office of the Prime Minister.Sign up for free AllAfrica Newsletters
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The focus of initiatives funded by the European Union address a wide spectrum of issues. These include humanitarian aid and civil protection; water, hygiene and sanitation; cash and vouchers transfer; strengthening the capacity of local governments to contribute to improved service delivery; supporting income-generating activities for refugees and host communities; increased environmental and natural resources protection by restoring and conserving degraded natural resources; and accelerating access to justice and protection for vulnerable groups.
During the event, the EU also welcomed ideas from the student body and the public to strengthen efforts geared toward the national refugee response.
"We appreciate the EU for championing the call for dialogue and collaboration to address societal issues and ensure good governance. This event has provided a platform to engage with students and enhance student learning by providing an educational experience that demonstrates how development cooperation works," said Prof. Umar Kakumba, Deputy VC for Academic Affairs at Makerere University.
During the event, Ambassador Sadek also recognized the efforts of partners implementing EU-funded projects in refugee and host communities. GiZ, Lutheran World Federation, Netherlands Red Cross, and World Vision were among those who received accolades for their role in promoting external visibility of EU-funded initiatives.