22 Jul 2018

 

Refugees In Uganda Receive Vocational Skills Training

In 2016 during the massive influx of refugees from South Sudan, NRC (Norwegians Refugees Council) targeted refugees and host communities to help youth in gaining economic self-reliance through enterprise that supports their communities and builds self-esteem.

Refugees In Uganda Receive Vocational Skills Training
Refugees in Uganda receive start-up kits after undertaking vocational training [Photo|Paul Night]

By Paul Night

MOYO, 26 December 2017 [Gurtong]-Through an integrated approach NRC has implemented vocational skills training (VST). Some 450 trainees did complete a six-month, non-formal training in trades including bakery, electronics, hair dressing, tailoring, brickmaking, poultry, horticulture and carpentry.

Youths were also taught business skills, life skills and functional literacy and numeracy. Upon successful completion, each graduate received a start-up kit with all the essential tools and inputs for beginning a business in their chosen trade.

“Out of the 450 graduates, 80% of them are now engaged in gainful employment or business after receiving the start-up kits from NRC,” says Hosana Adisu, the NRC representative in Uganda.

“They have managed to form groups and set up businesses like beauty salons, bakeries, poultry units and tailoring stands in the market. Some have been working with infrastructure contractors. Recently, 10 of our graduates were instrumental in the construction of temporary shelters responding to the influx of new refugees.’’ She added.

Recently in Moyo district, a home to the second largest settlement Palorinya, over 30 youths had a ten weeks design challenge to boost their skills.

 As part of efforts to maintain the existing goodwill and enhance peaceful co-existence while building self-reliance among host communities and the refugees, the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) and the Moyo district local government engaged the youth in an innovative approach that help them turn their challenges into opportunities.

Florence Akol, the regional program officer, UNDP said a total of thirty youth participated in a ten-week long design challenge, executed through a series of six workshops using the Human Centered design approach.

“The purpose was to identify the challenges faced in their communities (Host Communities and Refugees), and train the youth in an innovative solutions to address their challenges. The youth were organized and trained  in vocational institution (Moyo Technical Institute) which identified specific challenges in their community including health, alcoholism, early marriages, and lack of school fees as well as crop farming”, she said.

She noted that one of the selected categories of the youth both refugees and host communities trained in the areas of carpentry and joinery, hair dressing, building and concrete practices among others. 

“The tool is intended to address challenges of inaccessibility, unavailability and affordability of vocational inputs in the district”, she said.

Josephine Ajer, a refugee and the leader of Hope Youth Group said the tool is durable, multipurpose, and affordable. The agriculture tool designed by the group will improve the productivity of agriculture, which is the main livelihood in Adjumani district, and will also create employment opportunities if produced locally.

Moyo district which shares a border with South Sudan has become a host to approximately 189,000 South Sudanese refugees at Palorinya since the outbreak of violence in Juba in addition to the local population of 137,489 with a total household of 25,894. Further the district has dependency burden of Children below 15 years at 52 per cent of the population (UBOS 2016)

Williams Anyama, the LCV Chairman in Moyo said design Challenge is part of the United Nations (UN) in Uganda’s effort to implement the Refugee and Host Population Empowerment (ReHoPE) Strategy.

“The initiative was implemented by UNDP, Moyo District Local Government in partnership with UNHCR, and with funding from the government of Japan.

He noted that UNDP together with its partners plan to continue supporting the implementation of the solution generated by the winning team through business skill training, design mentoring and coaching.

Anyama also challenged the refugee youth and nationals to set aside time to reflect particularly on the resolution for this year (2017).

“If you don’t know where you were coming from, you may not know where you are now. If you don’t know where you are now then you can’t determine where you want to go”, Anyama said.

The biggest challenge refugees face is lack of employment with the knowledge of the trainings they receive from the development partners and the government which has left many of them to be dormant.

 

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