Uganda has a long history of providing asylum, which dates back to the Second World War, when the country opened its doors to some 10,000 refugees from Poland. Since then, Uganda has maintained its borders open, providing sanctuary to people escaping conflicts and major political crises in neighbouring countries. By April-end 2017, Uganda was home to 1.25 million refugees, mainly from South Sudan.
Refugees live in settlements within host communities and have access to services on par with Ugandan nationals. The high rate of poverty among refugees and limited economic opportunities contribute to higher poverty levels in refugee-hosting areas, which are often remote and less developed.
These factors provide a justification for investing in the socio-economic development of these areas for the benefit of both refugees and host communities.
In line with the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and in recognition of Uganda’s firm commitment to peace and security in the region and the protracted nature of displacement, the Government of Uganda took a bold decision to include refugee management and protection within its own domestic mid-term planning framework, namely the second National Development Plan (2015-20).
Refugee and Host Population Empowerment (ReHoPE)
The ReHoPE strategy seeks to explore opportunities that benefit both refugees and the communities that host them, by bridging the gap between humanitarian and development interventions. ReHoPE represents a key building block of a comprehensive response to displacement in Uganda and a critical component in the application of the Comprehensive Refugee Response Framework, as stipulated in the New York Declaration on Refugees and Migrants (19 September 2016).
Initiated by UNHCR and championed by the UN and the World Bank, the ReHoPE initiative is designed as a collective humanit