UNHCR and WFP have joined efforts to develop a five-year strategy for the DRC refugees to attain selfreliance. Special thanks and gratitude are due to the refugee households of Lovua Settlement for their time and cooperation in the data collection process. A vote of thanks to all who have given inputs towards the successful completion of this strategy. Special thanks to the Food security and livelihood working group (LWF, IDA,UNHCR, UNICEF, WFP and WVA) who continuously supported in reviewing, summarising and translating the various literatures and to community leaders, individuals and government counterparts for participating in the various assessment.
2.0 Executive Summary
The outbreak of violence in the Kasai region of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) in March 2017 triggered displacement inside the country and across the border into neighbouring Angola. The conflict resulted in a devastating humanitarian crisis, gender based violence, loss of livelihood assets, damage to vital infrastructure, and above all, exacerbated hunger and poverty. As per December 2018, over 23,297 refugees are living in Lunda Norte Province with 18, 078 living in Lóvua settlement and around 5,219 still living in urban areas as relocation to Lóvua settlement is underway.
UN agencies, specifically FAO, UNDP, UNHCR, WFP and partners have continued to strengthen the development of Lóvua settlement to ensure long-term access to basic services for Congolese refugees living there. While maintaining a strong humanitarian response to Congolese refugees, UNHCR and WFP recognizes that there is a pressing need to engage in activities which protect people’s livelihoods assets, supporting them to rebuild livelihoods where possible and promote self-reliance. Hence the Livelihood Strategy is expected to respond to this need and its development has involved internal and external consultations with partners, beneficiaries and other stakeholders.
The strategy is aligned with the objectives of the 2019-2020 Regional Refugee Response Plan for the DRC situation, including the Angola section. It is also aligned with the 2018-2022 Angola National Development Plan in a number of strategic areas. The strategy has integrated recommendations from the UNHCR/WFP JAM, WVI Market Assessment, the WFP multi-sectoral capacity assessment for Cash Based Transfers (CBT), and the Detailed livelihood assessment conducted by UNHCR. The multi-year strategy has one goal - to improve the livelihoods of refugees and host communities through economic and financial inclusion for selfreliance - the focus of which is to contribute to SDG 2 and the Global Compact on Refugees (GCR).
The strategy is built on three inter-connected strategic objectives – I. Improving food security and nutrition among the populations affected by crisis and shocks, including refugees in Lunda Norte province; II. Improving economic inclusion opportunities and building self-reliance of targeted refugees and host communities in Lunda Norte province through a multi-partner approach; and III. Providing technical assistance to local government institutions to better deliver sustainable results by the government and include refugees and asylum seekers into national systems and services.
The strategy encompasses a five year approach of graduating the refugees from complete dependency on food assistance to increased self-reliance. The approach will involve market oriented economic inclusion initiatives. The strategy will seek to promote social cohesion within refugees and host communities, increase financial inclusion and help both refugees and host communities to achieve greater self-reliance in line with the Inter-Agency Livelihood Strategy for 2019-2024, which calls for more creative ways to help refugees to be increasingly self-reliant while ensuring that such activities also benefit host communities. All conditional and unconditional transfers will be accompanied by specialised nutritious foods to minimise the impacts of lean periods and shocks affecting food scarcity and nutrition status of vulnerable and poor parts of the population. The approach will also be accompanied by Social and Behaviour Change Communications (SBCC) for women, children and men to ensure good nutrition and health practices are adopted.
Through this strategy UNHCR and WFP will take the opportunity to support the Government of Angola to carry out Strategic Review to lay down the development trajectory informed by analysis of the context and gaps, and recommendations required for necessary interventions relevant to SDG 2. UNHCR and WFP will also play a vital role in strengthening the technical capacity of relevant government departments, development agencies and institutions to conduct food and nutrition security analysis to enable better informed nationally owned evidence-based policies. Efforts to enhance government capacity will also include capacity to coordinate and deliver evidence-based nutrition assistance that improves nutritional status of people with specific needs and capacity to improve education indicators.
Greater efforts will also be made to ensure that affected populations are provided with relevant information relating to programme interventions and establishing effective complaints and feedback mechanisms through which concerns related to livelihood development activities are voiced, protection and other issues identified through inclusive community consultations, the programme activities will equitably address the priority needs of women and men (with attention to the needs of the youth) and will include enhancing production, processing and market linkage, on- and off-farm income opportunities and trainings. UNDP, UNHCR and WFP will work closely with the Government and other partners to design livelihood interventions that are gender and nutrition sensitive, avoiding and/or mitigating any potential negative impact on the environment and are in line with environmental and social standards.
The joint Livelihoods Strategy has the broad objective of protecting and restoring livelihoods and food security for conflict affected Congolese in Angola through support to household livelihoods, contribute to revitalizing local economy and strengthening resilience to ongoing and future shocks, while seeking increased opportunities for economic inclusion. The implementation of the strategy will be based on the following livelihood interventions:
1) Agriculture and value chain development: Protecting and promoting household livelihood food security and nutrition at all levels through agriculture interventions that includes cropping (subsistence farming-agribusness and home/kitchen gardening) using conservation and organic farming methodology, raising animals (goats, pigs etc), apiary, and fishery;
2) Self-employment: Increased availability of and access to diversified income sources will be achieved through; business and vocational skills enhancement by strengthening local markets and service delivery; promoting agribusiness; market linkages, value chain promotion, private sector partnership development and institutional capacity building. Formation of community saving and lending groups, establishing vocational training centre to strengthen theoretical knowledge, adult literacy as well as offering upgrading courses to craftsmen and trainees will be provided with business kits and or where applicable resolving grants to establishing and or boost their businesses; and 3) Advocacy: Increasing advocacy and partnership for government departments, development actors and the private sector in order to promote economic inclusion; access to labour markets, finance services, entrepreneurship and economic opportunities for both refugees and host community in Lóvua.
The design of this strategy is based on the UNHCR Global Strategy for livelihoods outlining livelihoods guiding principles that set forth the core standards behind all livelihood programming1 . UNHCR/WFP and partners will develop a range of activities and approaches to building resilience in a short, medium and long term. The design of livelihood interventions will be based on the refugees interest, practices and capabilities as well as existing economic activity and available opportunities. Livelihood interventions will be market based oriented to enable beneficiaries succeed in local economy and avoid dependence on partners and or UNHCR/WFP and will allow replication and be scale up to benefit a maximum number of refugees and host community. The activities will also be designed to enable significant increase in ability to achieve selfresilience.
Implementation of the strategy will be through a phased approach, whereby UNHCR/WFP will work with partners to pilot activities on a small scale in the 1st year and gradually increased in the coming 2-5 years, as the situation permits. The strategy encompasses a range of interventions focusing on both household level food security and livelihoods and interventions which aim to stimulate local economic activity, through inclusion of refugees’ approach, “at the heart of this approach is the idea that refugees should be included in the community development activities from the very beginning. When refugees gain access to education and labour markets, they can build their skills and become self-reliant, contributing to local economies and fuelling the development of the communities hosting them. Allowing refugees to benefit from national services and integrating them into national development plans is essential for both refugees and the communities hosting them”2
Involvement of the beneficiaries and stakeholders right away from the start of the programme is meant to build ownership and sustainability of the program beyond the project/programme cycle. At the end of the fifth year of implementation of this Strategy, livelihood interventions will be independently running and scaling up with out UNHCR/WFP further support.