DRC staff delivering items to the communities in collaboration with The Office of the Prime Minister

Marta no longer need to worry about rice and soap

Throughout the COVID-19 lockdown, DRC supported several livelihoods and income generating activities in communities in Northern Uganda.

In Adjumani refugee settlements of Oliji, Alere, Mungula II, Olua I, and Alua II, support to income generating activities (IGA) was delivered to 11 refugee and host communities livelihoods groups, thus reaching 254 households. The supported activities were for example grocery business, carpentry and joinery, tailoring, and on-farm field activities like ox traction.

Marta, 36, is a refugee and she is member of a livelihoods group in Olua I settlement.

“I speak on behalf of my group members. We are the original members of Yanping Livelihoods Group formed in March 2018 by DRC. We started with Enabling Rural Innovation/Participatory Agroenterprise Development training and later food security support, followed by group dynamics, post-harvest handling, and Village Savings and Loan Association training. In November 2018, we applied for support to income generating activities which I thought would not come. But, finally, God has given it to us at this time of the COVID-19 when the community needs it most,” Marta says.

The intervention has made a big difference

“We shall worry no more as salt, soap, cooking oil, and rice are within the reach. This does not only benefit the group members but also serves the community during this time of hardship of the lockdown,” says Marta with gratitude.

The government representatives in the settlements also valued DRC support provided to the communities in this hard time.

“I must thank this project funded by European Union Emergency Trust Fund being implemented by DRC for close to 4 years now. We — the leaders — have been watching how the project has been implemented. But, I must say, it is commendable and self-explanatory both within the settlement and host community and its impact is visible; especially the positive attitudes of the community towards farming and improved saving culture,” says David, Refugee Welfare Chairman in Olua I refugee settlement.

“What we have witnessed today is more than support as it has come at the time needed most by the community during this worldwide pandemic outbreak. It is also one way of sensitizing the community on this COVID-19 virus. For example, apart from what has been sung on the radio today, DRC has told them about the virus and how to fight it within our homes and the entire community. Trust me, the community shall be different after here,” assures David. 

Hope the strong partnership continues

The Office of the Prime Minister collaborating with DRC throughout its operations in refugee settlements, has also expressed their appreciation.

“I must thank DRC for the good work done and strong partnership, though in this hard time, and following the presidential and the Ministry of Health directives. The Office of the Prime Minister would be hard on DRC if they were to support the beneficiaries in non-food items at this time; but we are rather happy to see the livelihoods of the community are being capacitated to generate income, which the Government would not have managed. And that is why the partners like DRC are bridging the gap of service delivery” says Doreen, focal person for Olua I and II settlements in OPM.

Doreen´s hope is that DRC would continue its support to livelihoods groups and guarantees the Government’s partnership with NGOs to support the persons of concern.

Facts about the programme

The global COVID-19 spread followed by the country lockdown took refugees and their host communities by surprise. Suddenly, many of them found themselves left with no income generation source and struggling to make their and their families living. Thankfully to DRC programming in the livelihoods sector and its donors' support, persons of concern participating in DRC activities found a way to face the challenges brought by the pandemic with resilience and hope. Currently, DRC continues operating continuously adapting its programming to the coronavirus situation to identify persons of concern needs, provide them with necessary support and assistance, and keep them and the staff safe and informed. All activities comply with the WHO and Ministry of Health of Uganda guidelines.

Danish Refugee Council in consortium with ZOA, Ceford, and Save the Children implements the Support Programme to the Refugee Settlements and Host Communities in Northern Uganda (SPRS-NU). In Adjumani refugee settlements, there were formed 244 livelihoods groups comprising 3,050 refugee and 3,050 host communities’ members. These livelihoods groups receive the Enabling Rural Innovation/Participatory Agroenterprise Development training, quality farm inputs, climate-smart agriculture training, Village Savings and Loans Association training, support to form linkages with the private sector, support to form producers associations, income generating activity support, as well as learning from experiential establishment.

This programme is funded by the European Union Emergency Trust Fund.