Due to the economic slowdown induced by the COVID-19 pandemic, refugees and host communities alike, have witnessed loss of jobs and livelihoods. The uncertainty within job markets is negatively impacting their mental health. As Uganda hosts over 1.5 million refugees, the ILO and UNHCR, under the PROSPECTS programme, stepped forward to provide mental health and psychosocial support services to both the communities by linking them to information on skills and livelihoods.
Out of the six planned centres, three will be developed and operationalized by the ILO and the remaining by UNHCR. These centres will offer direct access to skills and livelihoods opportunities, information on employment opportunities and support appropriate skills transfer during the construction process. Other socio-economic services that will be provided at the centres include training on Information and Communication Technology (ICT) and various sports including football, basketball and netball. Furthermore, the community centres will act as safe spaces for refugees and host communities to receive mental health and psycho-social support services.
This initiative is expected to stimulate the local job markets across refugee and host settlements of Rhino, Imvempi and Nakivale in Uganda, through the Employment and Labour Intensive approaches that will be used in constructing the community centres.
Her Excellency Karin Boven, Ambassador of the Kingdom of the Netherlands to Uganda, graced the ground breaking ceremony held on 30 September 2021. “The centres will build resilience, improve social cohesion and ensure sustainable development of refugee and host communities. I am pleased that we are able to contribute beyond humanitarian response and towards sustainable development of the community,” said Ms Karin Boven.
This programme initiative is in line with the Government of Uganda’s ‘Jobs and Livelihoods Integrated Refugee Plan’ (JLIRP) (Find more information below).
Important ground opening ceremony for a multi-purpose youth & community centre in Rhino camp refugee settlement. This will help the community address MHPSS & livelihoods opportunities under #PROSPECTSpartnership @UNICEFUganda @UNHCRuganda @IFC_org @IloProspects @WorldBankAfrica pic.twitter.com/tGd6x0uE3C— Karin Boven (@Karin_Boven) September 30, 2021
Stephen Opio, Chief Technical Advisor of the ILO PROSPECTS programme in Uganda added, “Use of local resources and gender inclusive approach in the development and planning of these centres will ensure its community ownership from the construction stage. As envisioned in the JLIPR, this is an effort towards tapping potential of the refugee communities in the economic development of the communities that host them.”
ILO PROSPECTS‘ contribution to JLIRPThe JLIRP focuses on improving economic opportunities; strengthening market systems, increasing household income, food and nutrition security and agricultural output for in-country and export markets. It aims to implement productive coping strategies in a volatile job market; improve access to vocational and technical education; and enhance social protection for socio-economic inclusion of refugees and host communities.
The ILO PROSPECTS programme is supporting Government of Uganda to operationalise the JLIRP though its integration into District Development Plans of the 12 refugee hosting districts of Uganda.
For the host communities affected by the COVID-19 restrictions, the PROSPECTS programme has offered short-term employment and access to social protection through the Urban Cash for Work Programme (UCWP). The programme has reached over 4,200 individuals participating in 52 different labour intensive work projects including an intervention supporting rehabilitation of a community market. The programme is being implemented by the Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development and Arua City administration and technically and financially supported by the ILO.
Read more: “Jobs and Livelihoods Integrated Response Plan for Refugees and Host Communities in Uganda - 2020/2021 - 2024/2025”.
In the local newspapers
- The Farmers Media. The Government of the Netherlands and the ILO gift Rhino settlement refugees and host communities with modern recreation facility.
- Uganda Broadcasting Corporation (UBC). Rhino refugee settlement receives recreation Centre