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Uganda Refugee Response Monitoring Settlement Fact Sheet: Elema (June 2018)

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Elema is the oldest settlement in Adjumani district, established in 1992, and is entirely comprised of refugees from the Kuku tribe of South Sudan. Following a UNHCR-led repatriation of South Sudanese refugees in 2008 from Uganda, the Kuku ethnic group in Elema declined to be repatriated. They have as a community settled and integrated well with the mainly Madi people in the host community.

Gaps & Challenges

  • With only one health centre being shared between Elema and Barutuku, many refugees struggle to access adequate health care. Refugees have reported low staff numbers, insufficient drug supplies and poor diagnostic support, with common illnesses such as malaria being misdiagnosed. Refugees also stated that the referral system to district clinics is expensive, understaffed and disorientating due to people not speaking their native language.

  • Access to secondary education is limited, with no secondary school in neighboring Barutuku or Elema meaning pupils have to travel long distances, and many eligible pupils struggling to access scholarships. Pre-primary and primary schools also lack resources, with limited staff and teaching materials and high tuition fees leading parents to take loans and sell food to pay tuition.

  • FGD participants claimed that food distributions have become increasingly irregular, of reduced quantity and worse quality, leading to deterioating food security for households. With food distributions comprised of primarily maize flour and beans, pregnant women, children and other persons with special needs (PSNs) in particular are reportedly suffering from malnutrition.

  • With only two operational hand pumps serving the settlement, there are long waiting times to access water with people queueing overnight, and tensions often developing. With no alternative natural water source, people are struggling to obtain sufficient water for hygiene and sanitation purposes.

  • Refugees reported that there was only one sanitary materials distribution for the whole of 2017, with many women not obtaining materials due to their names missing from the list. This has reportedly caused many adolescent girls to miss school when menstruating.

  • Many PSNs do not have adequate shelter, with few resources being provided and people not having the capacity to construct resilient shelters. In addition, many PSNs do not have latrines leading them to share with neighbors or go to the toilet in the bush.