The Government of Japan announced on Wednesday that it has since March of this year committed $4.1 million (about Shs15 billion) to the United Nations for various development and humanitarian initiatives in Uganda.
The funds, which were shared among UN four agencies, will help support refugees and host communities, as well as border security over a period of one year from April 2020 to March 2021.
These agencies are the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the International Organization for Migration (IOM), and the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF).
During a press conference at the Uganda Media Center in Kampala, the Japanese ambassador to Uganda Kameda Kazuaki said that the funds were released in two phases, with $ 2.7 million coming in March and $1.4m was delivered in June.
“While recognizing the serious impact of displacement on vulnerable groups such as women and children, the Government of Japan has been extending financial support to address the humanitarian crisis, having consistently paid close attention to the plight of Uganda’s local communities hosting refugees, most of which already lag behind the rest of the country in economic and social development,” said Ambassador Kameda.
“I am pleased to announce a fresh contribution by the Government of Japan through several UN Agencies in the same spirit. In addition, the Japanese Government has provided emergency funding of more than US$ 1.4 million in June this year through UNICEF for the provision of supplies as well as essential healthcare services targeting children and women in the face of the rapidly increasing demand due to the spread of COVID-19.”
The Minister of Relief, Disaster Preparedness and Refugees Hilary Onek hailed the government of Japan for its continued support to the East African nation.
Speaking on behalf of the UN system in Uganda, the UNDP Resident Representative, Elsie G. Attafuah, said that the assistance will enhance their operations, especially after the impact of Covid-19 pandemic on funding humanitarian and development interventions.
“The contribution helped us continue delivering critical activities in Uganda to support the government and help the people on the ground,” Attafuah said.
Present at the press conference were representatives of the involved UN agencies: Sanusi Tejan Savage (IOM Uganda Chief of Mission), Joel Boutroue (UNHCR Representative), and Dr. Viorica Berdaga (UNICEF Chief Child Survival and Development).
The assistance has been provided as part of the implementation of the Comprehensive Refugee Response (CRRF) in Uganda and the Global Compact on Refugees, a strategy which under the Government’s leadership coordinated a wide range of stakeholders including UN agencies, International Financial Institutions, development and humanitarian partners and the private sector to sustain Uganda’s settlement transformative agenda and non-camp refugee management policies.
Uganda is the largest refugee-hosting country in Africa with more than 1.4 million refugees and asylum-seekers. Majority of the refugees and asylum seekers in Uganda originate from South Sudan, Democratic Republic of Congo and Burundi. Uganda’s refugee laws and policies are among the most progressive in the world.
Below is how the funds were shared:
IOM received US$ 240,145 to contribute to reduce transnational security threats while increasing border security and regular migration in Uganda.
The intervention primarily supports the Government of Uganda, and specifically, the Directorate of Citizenship and Immigration control (DCIC), to improve immigration procedures through the elaboration of work permit, citizenship guidelines and visa policy.
Furthermore, maritime security is to be strengthened through the provision of border patrol assets and training of border officials assigned to lake patrol.
UNDP received US$727,272 to foster humanitarian, development, and peacebuilding nexus for resilience efforts towards refugees and host communities in Northern Uganda.
The project contributes to the comprehensive refugee response in the country which is based on the UN Refugee and Host Population Empowerment (ReHoPE) framework.
In particular, UNDP is able to expand gender-responsive livelihood opportunities and strengthen the capacity of refugees and host communities to sustainably manage environmental resources.
UNDP is also able to strengthen central governance coordination in implementing the Comprehensive Refugee Response Framework (CRRF) Action Plan and strengthen the capacity of local governments to engage into the refugee response.
UNHCR received US $1,237,754 towards the provision of minimum health care package in Bidibidi refugee settlement and promotion of livelihood opportunities for refugees and host communities through UNHCR-JICA cooperation on rice promotion in Rhino Camp and Adjumani settlements.
The project is implemented within the context of the CRRF. The fund specifically supports the continuation of UNHCR-JICA cooperation on rice promotion and multiplication for both refugees and host communities; support the management of 14 health facilities to provide adequate quality and lifesaving health care services including management of medical referrals to secondary and tertiary health facilities in and outside the settlement and supporting preparedness and response for disease outbreaks.
UNICEF received US$454,545 to help improve children’s health and protection in Adjumani, a refugee-hosting district in Northern Uganda in March 2020.
With the funds received, UNICEF is supporting the Government of Uganda to provide over 6,500 beneficiaries with water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) services, and by supporting the construction of WASH facilities in two health centers and two schools.
In June 2020, UNICEF further received US$1,428,300 to support Uganda’s National COVID19 Response Plan through the provision of critical medical and water, sanitation and hygiene supplies, along with support to risk communication, community engagement, and essential service delivery with a focus on health, nutrition and child protection.
To date, this critical support helped procure 70 oxygen concentrators, 50 pulse oximeters, vaccines for refugee children, and critical WASH supplies to 56 health centers in the refugee-hosting districts of Kikuube and Isingiro.
In addition, 293 medical staff were trained and are providing mental health and psychosocial support.