By Frank Kamuntu
The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) has commended the Government of Uganda and all its donors for helping to contribute to the basic needs of 1.2 million refugees and their host communities across the country in 2019.
Donors and the government of Uganda supported WFP to meet the basic dietary needs of refugees through monthly food or cash donations. In addition, donors funded the treatment and prevention of malnutrition among refugees and Ugandans living around refugee settlements.
WFP was also able to support smallholder farmers to improve their yields and incomes while reducing food losses.
“The partnership between the Ugandan government, donors and WFP is vital to fight hunger and malnutrition in Uganda,” said El-Khidir Daloum, WFP Country Director.
“The ability of donors to swiftly provide funding and entrust us to deliver assistance to those seeking refuge —often women and children fleeing unimaginable hardships—needs our heartfelt recognition,” he added.
In 2019, WFP’s refugee operation received contributions from Uganda, Canada, the European Commission, Ireland, Japan, Sweden, the Republic of Korea, the Russian Federation, the United Kingdom, the UN Central Emergency Response Fund and the United States of America.
Donors enabled WFP to help boost economies within Uganda by purchasing food locally. In addition, WFP strengthened its food and cash distribution procedures, including using biometrics to confirm identities in order to improve the accountability and integrity of the refugee response.
The government and donors helped WFP to expand cash-based transfers, reaching 35 percent of all refugees who were assisted. Cash allows refugees to choose what food they buy and stimulates economic growth in and around settlements. Cash also boosts government efforts to enhance financial inclusion.
Through cash-based transfers, WFP injected USD35m into refugee settlements in 2019.
At the end of 2019, Uganda hosted 1.38 million refugees; the highest number of refugees in Africa. More than 67,300 refugees arrived from the Democratic Republic of Congo and South Sudan between July and December. Women and people under the age of 18 make up 83 percent of refugees.
They typically arrive in Uganda with little to no assets, leaving them heavily dependent on assistance. A WFP and government study in 2017 found that even while the government gives land and the UN and other organizations to provide additional assistance, refugees remain vulnerable for years.
By meeting their basic food and nutrition needs, WFP and its partners enable refugees to begin a journey toward self-reliance and resilience in line with Uganda’s refugee policy.
The United Nations World Food Programme is the world’s largest humanitarian organization, saving lives in emergencies, building prosperity and supporting a sustainable future for people recovering from conflict, disasters and the impact of climate change.