Uganda: Kiryandongo Refugee Settlement Project
Improving Community Through Medical and Educational Support: Q3 2017
December 14, 2017
Alphonse Mwanamwolho and Naku Charles Lwanga
Summary of Activities
Students and pupils study safely and comfortably without stress, because their school fees are paid and scholastic materials such as books, pens, and pencils were provided on time for the 2017 third term thanks to RMF/WCF. By helping students and pupils access education, we are helping to reduce illiteracy levels in the settlement.
The financial and scholastic support to schools has helped keep a huge number of children in school. This helps reduce the number of children that would have nowhere to go, many of them having lost their entire families in their home countries. Without this help, many children would drop out of school, loiter in the camp, and even engage in criminal activities that could jeopardize their future prospects and cause insecurity within the settlement.
The project is promoting the peaceful coexistence of refugees and nationals because services benefit both the refugee and host communities and have increased interactions among them.
Panyadoli Vocational Training Institute (PVTI) is providing solutions for economic recovery to numerous refugee youth. Maintaining youth participation in vocational training directly and indirectly helps to curb other social problems in the community, such as unplanned pregnancies, rape cases, substance abuse, etc. Vocational training provides quick solutions for economic recovery to some refugee youth who, once finished their training, can begin generating income and providing for their basic needs. Additionally, when graduates are provided with startup kits, they are better able to start businesses for themselves. Some graduates have also been able to expand their businesses.
In addition to working towards self-sufficiency, refugees and nationals who have undergone training at PVTI are contributing to economic growth by providing semi-skilled labor at construction sites, sharing their knowledge with others, and starting businesses like furniture workshops, hair salons, tailoring shops, etc.
The community feels safe having access to quality health care at the Panyadoli Health Centres, and now finds hope and pride in its Panyadoli Vocational Training Institute (PVTI), looking forward to expanding its programs and finding new ways to generate income through graduates of PVTI. The immunization rates, health facility utilization, HIV/AIDS service utilization, and the overall health of refugees has greatly improved, and we now have several doctors in the health facilities.
Mothers are also receiving better antenatal care services, which has reduced maternal mortality rates in the community. Safe deliveries doubled from 2015 to 2016, and no mother has died in childbirth. With the construction of a new Maternity ward expansion at Panyadoli Health Centre III, completed in April 2017, maternal health care has been improved even further.
The project is attracting more partners, including JICA, PeacePlayers International, and Laureus Sport for Good, and providing relief to the government of Uganda, which would otherwise be providing for all of the refugees’ basic needs.
School Fees Paid by RMF
Currently, a total of 9,756 students are supported by RMF/WCF funding in nursery, primary, and secondary schools, including South Sudanese, Kenyan, Rwandan, Burundian, Ugandan IDP, and Congolese children/students. School fees for all RMF-sponsored students were paid at the beginning of the reporting period.
Benefiting Refugees and Nationals
During the reporting period, RMF/WCF provided medicine, as well as medical, laboratory, and cleaning supplies for the health centers in Kiryandongo Refugee Settlement. This was supplemented by medical supplies from Kiryandongo District’s local government and the UNHCR. RMF/WCF’s medical support benefits both refugees and nationals who come for treatment at Panyadoli Health Centre III, Panyadoli Hills Health Centre II, the Reception Centre Clinic, and Nyakadot Health Centre II.
Panyadoli Vocational Training Institute (PVTI)
Continued Financial Support
We continue to provide financial support and guidance for the four departments at RMF’s Panyadoli Vocational Training Institute (PVTI). During the reporting period, 102 students were trained in different disciplines, and they have been registered for the Directorate of Industrial Training (DIT) exams due to take place in late November or early December 2017.
Kiryandongo Sports Development Program
Scholarships Offered to Students
RMF has continued to implement our sports development program, which is promoting psychological wellbeing, life skills, and cooperation among the youth. 10 players, including both boys and girls, have been offered scholarships by Alliance Integrated Secondary School for their secondary education, while 1 student is on scholarship at Kigumba Intensive Secondary School. In this way, the program is providing an opportunity for talent exhibition. The program has helped diffuse some of the tension existing between different tribes from South Sudan.
Capacity Building Workshop
Empowering Team Members
During the reporting period, RMF Uganda conducted our first capacity building workshop to empower the team with additional skills in delivering humanitarian services. The workshop was conducted in Kampala, at the Kolping Hotel. Skills and knowledge in procurement, finance management, human resources management, budgeting, and planning activities were all shared during the workshop. The event also created an avenue for professional interaction and sharing of expectations between RMF line managers and OPM and UNHCR officials.
Precious Children’s Centre
Health and Attendance Improved
Throughout the reporting period, RMF continued to provide the Precious Children’s Centre with funding for food. Because the children have enough to eat, they are staying in school and are able concentrate on studying. Since RMF started sporting the Precious Children’s Centre with food, the health status of the children has improved, and they now can stay at the center and attend class. More street children are attending school and seeking educational opportunities because they will also receive meals.
The Kiryandongo Refugee Settlement in Bweyale, Uganda, is a UNHCR managed refugee settlement that provides shelter, land, and support for more than 100,000 people. They are comprised of refugees from Kenya, DR Congo, Rwanda, Burundi, and South Sudan. RMF has partnered with UNHCR in supporting Kiryandango Refugee Settlement, the surrounding community of Bweyale, and the greater Kiryandongo District (an additional 266,197 people) with health care, education, and vocational training since 2008.
- To serve as a health care implementation partner with the UNHCR and Ugandan Government
- To provide health care services to over 100,000 refugees and persons in the community via the Panyadoli Health Centres
- To provide skills training for South Sudanese refugees to enable them to become self-reliant
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Based on numbers provided by the UNHCR and OPM (Office of the Prime Minister), the current core population of Kiryandongo Refugee Settlement is over 100,000, with at least 60,000 South Sudanese refugees and the remainder composed of Kenyan, Rwandan, Burundian, and Congolese refugees, as well as Ugandan IDPs. As of March 2016, 80% were at-risk women and children.
In addition to the refugee community, services provided by RMF benefit Kiryandongo District’s host population of over 266,197, including Bweyale and the surrounding areas. All patients receive treatment without discrimination. Currently, patients travel from as far as Nakasongola and Karuma to access services at the RMF-supported health centers in Kiryandongo Refugee Settlement. Patients prefer these health centers because they know that doctors and medicines will be available, which is often not the case in other facilities.
About 30% of the students at Panyadoli Vocational Training Institute (PVTI) are Ugandan nationals from the host community. Thus, members of host community have also been able to gain skills which have empowered them to improve their livelihoods, hence contributing to the wellbeing and GDP of the country.
Support for a Young Heart Patient
Health Progress of Patricia
Patricia Biira is a three-year-old girl who was born with holes in her heart. Thanks to RMF’s support, she underwent a successful heart surgery at the Uganda Heart Institute on August 16, 2017 and was discharged from the hospital on August 24, 2017. However, one week after returning to her village, Patricia experienced a fresh attack that almost claimed her life. RMF hired an ambulance, and Patricia was rushed back to the heart institute. This action saved Patricia’s life. The cardiologists worked on her and got her out of danger. According to the medical review that was done in September, Patricia is recovering steadily. She will have her next medical review in January 2018. All of this was made possible because of the funding from RMF/WCF.
Training Progress and Registration for DIT Exams
Since RMF took on the management of Panyadoli Vocational Training Institute (PVTI) in 2011, over 650 trainees have graduated and are actively employed, either running their own businesses or working for someone else. Most of our graduates are refugees, and they are taking advantage of the Ugandan government’s “free employment policy,” which allows refugees to secure employment and move to other locations where their services are needed. Many PVTI graduates testify that this training has changed their lives from being dependent to being independent.
During the reporting period, 102 students continued with their training and were registered for the Directorate of Industrial Training (DIT) exams due to take place in late November or early December 2017.
Bricklaying and Concrete Practice (BCP)
- During the reporting period, 18 trainees were enrolled for training in Bricklaying and Concrete Practice (BCP), including 1 female trainee. All trainees have continued in the program and been registered for DIT examinations due to take place in late November or early December 2017.
- The syllabus has been followed, and trainees are now conversant with key building skills. They are knowledgeable about the common bonds that are used in construction, e.g. the English bond, stretcher bond, and Flemish bond. Training is both practical and theoretical to ensure that graduates understand and apply standard building practices in their work.
- Arrangements are underway to send students for training internships at different construction sites.
- JICA (a partner that contributed training materials) is pleased with training progress.
Carpentry and Joinery (CJ)
- During the reporting period, 17 trainees were enrolled for training in Carpentry and Joinery (CJ). All trainees have continued in the program and been registered for DIT examinations due to take place in late November or early December 2017.
- The training is continuing according to the syllabus, and the trainees are now conversant with key joints used in carpentry and joinery. They are being well prepared for the DIT exams.
- Trainees have started producing items such as stools, beds, tables, and benches.
Hairdressing and Beauty Therapy (HBT)
- During the reporting period, 32 trainees were admitted for training in Hairdressing and Beauty Therapy (HBT), including 2 male trainees. All trainees have continued in the program and been registered for DIT exams.
- The class is steadily following the syllabus so that trainees will be able to face the DIT exams with confidence.
- Trainees have learned the art of hair treatment, shaving, and plaiting different fashions.
Tailoring and Garment Cutting (TGC)
- During the reporting period, 35 trainees were accepted for training in Tailoring and Garment Cutting (TGC), including 2 male trainees. All trainees have continued in the program and been registered for DIT exams.
- Training has followed the syllabus, and trainees’ skills have progressed. They are now able to make a pair of shorts, a shirt, and a skirt.
- Trainees will be well prepared to face the DIT exams forthcoming in late November or early December 2017.
When the program hosted a high-level delegation from the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) during the second quarter of 2017, JICA Senior Vice President Hiroshi Kato promised to renew JICA’s support of RMF’s Panyadoli Vocational Training Institute (PVTI). Accordingly, during the third quarter, JICA provided the following support for the training:
- Uniforms for the trainees and additional training materials
- Funding for the salary of one vocational program coordinator
- Office supplies and equipment, including stationery, a laptop, and printer cartridges
The support from JICA enabled RMF to increase our last intake of 2017 from 75 trainees to 102 trainees.
Kiryandongo Sports Development Program
Eight teams have been successfully recruited in the community, and we are currently using four fields located in different areas of Kiryandongo Refugee Settlement: two fields in Ranch 1 and two fields in Ranch 37. There are two male teams and two female teams in each ranch. In consideration of our female players, their training is conducted in fields near their homes for easy access and additional safety. The trainings have been successful, and the coaches are doing an excellent job with the players.
Accomplishments during the reporting period
- The teams have been provided with training equipment, including balls, cones, beeps, uniforms, and cleats, among others. This has led to easy identification during training and competitions. It has also attracted more participants to the program and created more confidence in the existing players.
- 10 players, including both boys and girls, have been offered scholarships by Alliance Integrated Secondary School for their secondary education, while 1 student is on scholarship at Kigumba Intensive Secondary School. In this way, the program is providing an opportunity for talent exhibition.
- The players have had 4 successes in competitions, both inside and outside Kiryandongo Refugee Settlement. Playing and winning games with other teams is very motivational for the participants.
- The team also managed to represent the whole of Kiryandongo in the Maendeleo Football Tournament. The under-17 boys took second place and were the only team that reached the finals from Kiryandongo District. The team received awards like balls and medals, which helped motivate the players.
- Conducting formative meetings with the coaches helped to plan monthly activities and set monthly targets for the program, hence creating unity, togetherness, and success.
- Training continues to progress according to the planned schedule.
- Limited playing fields: The current playing fields cannot accommodate all of the players. More fields are needed, and we are certain that the OPM can allocate land for this use.
- Since most of the players are students, they report late to the field because they have to go home first to get some food. It would be better if we provided a meal during training. Additionally, some of the participants don’t have food at home since the food rations for refugees have been cut by 50%.