The past three months (March - June) have been challenging for our Urban Refugees Incubation Program (URIP) in Uganda as the Covid-19 sanitary crisis put everything on pause. We've had to take on health safety measures for our staff but also for the sake of the beneficiaries of our action: members of the two refugee-led organizations we work with: the Sudanese Women for Peace and Development Association (SWPDA) and the United South Sudanese Urban Refugees Community (USSURC). During the month of March, the Ugandan authorities have increased restriction of movement crescendo, as a reaction we have had to suspend our program activities.
Our head of mission, Jessica, stayed in Kampala and has worked intensively on mitigating the risks. In this respect, support to refugee-led groups has continued in other forms:
Implementation of a system of weekly assignments to reinforce the knowledge acquired from previous training modules and maintain regular contact;
Support in writing several proposals to donors for involving refugee-led groups in responding to the crisis.
While we start to resume work slowly (training is planned to start again fully early July and one session was held a few days ago with respect to social barrier gestures), we have learned a lot during this extraordinary global crisis:
Refugee-led groups are the best place to respond to a crisis: our rationale has been confirmed as we have seen an unprecedented mobilization of the groups we work with to provide care and guidance to their communities;
Capacity-building works: training provided has helped our beneficiaries greatly as they have been in a capacity to respond to the crisis in a structured manner (efficient use of money, team organization, etc.);
Foreign and national aid for crisis response should go to the communities: refugees in urban Kampala have been hardly hit by the crisis. Whereas they have been able to get organized to respond to the crisis somehow, refugee-led groups lack means to strongly support their peers. URBAN REFUGEES is currently seeking more funding to support groups in Kampala to help them provide better care and services to their communities and to be a real partner of humanitarian action.
We look forward to sharing future updates as our respective projects continue to unfold and as an organization, we head towards partnering more and more with humanitarian actors to amplify impact. Until then, as always, our continued gratitude for your support of our work.
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