By Kwanta Douglas –
Over the next five years, refugees and their host communities in Kenya and Uganda will have access to $35 million in livelihood support. The money will go toward creating jobs for 20,000 individuals in Nairobi and Kampala.
“We’re working on a five-year, €30 million ($35 million) program with our partners and the IKEA Foundation to develop livelihood alternatives for these disadvantaged coworkers.
The “Refugees in East Africa: Boosting Urban Innovations for Livelihoods Development (Re:Build)” program is supported by the IRC and the IKEA Foundation.
“We want refugees to have meaningful, sustainable livelihoods,” Priscilla Dembetembe, the IRC’s Re:Build project director, said, adding, “For us to bring a sense of community, cohesion, and togetherness, we should, as much as possible, do whatever we can.”
East African countries have one of the world’s largest displaced populations, with 4.5 million refugees and 8.8 million internally displaced people (IDPs) as of June. According to the IRC, many refugees are having difficulty obtaining safe and long-term employment.
The largest refugee populations in the world are in South Sudan, Somalia, Sudan, and the Democratic Republic of Congo account for the largest refugee populations in the region, mainly displaced due to conflict and instability. South Sudan remains the largest refugee crisis in Africa and the third largest refugee crisis globally.
According to the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR), Uganda hosts the largest refugee population in Africa.
While refugees are often forced to seek opportunities in rapidly growing cities as they try to rebuild their lives, they just like many local residents suffer from high levels of unemployment and minimal access to banks and loans, city services and social safety nets, according to IRC in a press briefing on July 27.
IRC is working with private companies to recruit refugees to give them the necessary skills and qualifications they need to eventually become full-time employees, while working to have their certificates accredited by local authorities so they are better equipped to secure employment in their new city.