UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, is facing underfunding in its operations in Uganda, having received just 38 percent of its 2022 funding requirement of US$343.4 million to respond to the needs of refugees in Uganda.
The humanitarian response is hit adversely due to a lack of funding as refugees from South Sudan and the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) cross to Uganda to escape violence and seek safety. It immediately needs US$68 million for life-saving assistance and services as the refugee count in Uganda swells to over 96,000 so far this year.
UNHCR and 41 partners – including six UN agencies, 25 international and 10 national non-governmental organizations have flagged up the issue of funds availability by the end of the year to support up to 150,000 refugees
Uganda has the highest number of refugees in the African continent hosting over 1.5 million of them. Uganda has been one of the most refugees’ friendly countries as it provides them with plots of land for housing and cultivation. It further gives access to the same health facilities to refugees as what is available to Ugandan nationals. There is no bias in admissions against refugees children in the schools.
The funding gap is impeding the UNHCR’s pace and capacity to provide critical support, including basic humanitarian assistance, child protection services, civil registration, and livelihood opportunities.
Income-generating activities for them have taken a hit as no adequate support is coming from humanitarian agencies.
Women especially girls are worst affected as they face a high risk of dropping out of school due to nonpayment to teachers, and classrooms size will increase which are already crowded. The lack of funding will also impact the procurement of soap and hygiene kits for women and girls which will adversely affect their health and access to education. Even as efforts are being made to reduce child and maternal mortality the lack of funds will hamper the procurement of medicines for health centers which will affect this initiative. Also, cases of infant malnutrition will increase
Kisoro, in southwest Uganda, has received the highest influx of refugees from Congo. Refugees especially Women and children at the Nyakabande transit center face substandard and crowded conditions which expose them to risks, including gender-based violence.