Alere was established on 12 June 1990 in Adjumani District and has a surface area of 119 hectares. The settlement has hosted South Sudanese refugees fleeing the Second Sudanese War as well as more recent arrivals fleeing the country since 2013. Today, Alere hosts over 6,700 South Sudanese refugees and is closed to new arrivals. Projects implemented in the settlement focus both on humanitarian relief as well as development initiatives to improve the refugees' and host communities' resilience and livelihoods, although major gaps still exist.
Gaps & Challenges
Food distribution is often delayed and insufficient. Refugees reported that delays were as long as three weeks and that recent reductions in food distribution have led to dietary issues as they do not have enough food to last a month. Some refugees are now being provided with cash-for-food assistance of 17,000 UGX per month, however this is also not sufficient to purchase enough food to last for a month. They have thus resorted to selling non-food items (NFIs) such as mosquito nets in order to afford additional food.
The arid and increasingly unpredictable climate of the region leading to hostile dry seasons and irregular rainfalls combined with low soil fertility and the rocky condition of the land allocated in the settlement have significantly damaged agricultural activities.
Refugees also reported limited vocational training support in developing income generating activities as an alternative to agricultural activities.
The quality of education received by refugees has been affected by the quality of teaching, limited staff numbers, language barriers and severe congestion in classrooms. Furthermore, high tuition fees, no school feeding programs and a lack of access to scholarships has led to significant levels of absenteeism and dropouts. Additionally, tuition fees for secondary school and the absence of vocational institutions means many adolescents are left with a feeling of idleness.
Health services are insufficient to meet the needs of the population. The health center faces a continuous shortage of medications causing patients to travel to Adjumani town to access the medicine they require. Both refugees and host community members expressed experiencing long delays in accessing health services due to overcrowding, a lack of health workers and an absence of emergency and overnight services. This has particularly affected persons with special needs (PSNs) and seriously ill patients, with delays in treatment and referrals leading to avoidable mortalities.
Since their arrival, many refugees have not been able to upgrade their shelters leading to many breaking down, which particularly affects PSNs. Refugees find it difficult to improve shelter durability due to them being prohibited from taking resources from the surrounding forest and the lack of construction materials provided. They have thus resorted to selling their food rations and NFIs to pay for new materials.