Located in Western Uganda near the border with the Democratic Republic of Congo, Kyangwali settlement is home to more than 83,000 refugees. Due to its geographical location, Congolese refugees form the majority of the population but there are also Rwandese, Burundians,
South Sudanese, Somalis, and Kenyans. In response to the influx of Congolese refugees entering the country since December 2018, Kyangwali has been receiving new arrivals, which has resulted in a significant increase in its population. Despite effort from humanitarian agencies to provide necessary services, people still face a number of challenges ranging from access to health care, protection, education, and livelihoods among others.
Gaps & Challenges
Although significant efforts have been made with regards to health services in the settlement, FGD participants reported finding them insufficient. Services were found to be inaccessible at night with doctors often working from 11am until 4pm, which refugees and nationals reported has caused deaths in the night. Patients struggle to access services due to the long distance to the health center and the absence of ambulance services. Moreover, patients receive poor treatment due to issues of misdiagnosis caused by a lack of equipment, shortages of medication and an inadequate number of health workers.
Refugees reported that education has been particularly neglected by partners operating in the settlement. The limited number of education facilities available has led to overcrowding in the schools inhibiting the learning environment. Long distance to the schools, high tuition fees and school material fees, language barriers and an inability to translate Congolese education documents to the Ugandan standards has led to many children not attending school. A lack of English learning opportunities and adult learning programs (ALPs) was also highlighted as a key challenge.
The food distributed to refugees was reported to be untimely, insufficient and lacking in diversity. Refugees are unable to maintain a balanced diet due to the limited diversity in the food provided. Moreover, both refugees and nationals reported that the lack of access to land for agricultural purposes and limited income generating activities prevents self-sustainability.
There are insufficient water points in and around the settlement serving both refugees and the host community, and they are located far away. This has led to severe congestion and long queues making the fetching of water particularly difficult. Moreover, refugees were provided with only one jerry can per household upon arrival, which has further exacerbated the fetching of water. The delivery of water is often delayed with trucks arriving at irregular times. Furthermore, refugees reported a lack of hygiene promoters and few awareness programs.
Both refugees and nationals reported a lack of employment opportunities in and around the settlement, limited access to capital to start small scale businesses and an absence of vocational training institutes. This has prevented them from earning an income and to facilitate their ability to meet their basic needs. Moreover, the lack of land for agriculture further prevents households from improving their livelihoods opportunities .