Nakivale, one of the oldest refugee settlements in Uganda, was opened in 1958 and officially established as a settlement in 1960. The settlement hosts more than 100,000 refugees from Burundi, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Rwanda, Somalia, Sudan, and South Sudan. During the Burundian crisis in 2015, the population of the settlement greatly increased and has since remained this high. Markets are bustling and food is available for purchase, but many refugees struggle to afford basic items.
Gaps & Challenges
Refugee and nationals participating in the FGDs reported they found the medical service delivery to be of poor quality and unreliable.
Nakivale Health Center II is overcrowded leading to long waiting time for patients. The shortage of medication in the center means the ill are forced to buy drugs from private clinics, which many cannot afford. Moreover, refugees highlighted a weak referral system, insufficient specialized doctors and poor antenatal care.
Refugees explained there have been several cases of rape and defilement of young girls in and around the settlement. This has significantly restricted their movement, particularly at night. Victims tend to report the cases when it is already late, often due to the fear of retaliation by relatives of the perpetrators. Community awareness activities have now increased their focus on early reporting of rape/defilement cases for improved follow-ups.
The poor and unreliable climatic conditions, droughts in particular, in Nakivale have led to low yields and high food prices. Despite the promotion of climate smart agriculture, refugees highlighted they struggle with food insecurity. Moreover, refugees reported the food distributed to be insufficient and of poor quality. Refugees also face challenges in receiving food due to their inability to register for food ration cards after having lost their ID cards when fleeing insecurity at home.
Both refugees and nationals face significant obstacles in accessing quality education. Refugees reported struggling to access schools often located far away from where they stay. The high student population has led to overcrowding and low teacher per student ratios, which has affected students’ performances. FGD participants reported they face difficulties in paying the school tuition fees and struggling to access the scholarships available, which have prevented students from staying enrolled in school, particularly when graduating from primary school.
-Refugees and host community members reported the vocational training institutions available to be inadequate to their needs, which means they are unable to acquire the necessary skills to access employment. They therefore struggle to earn money and meet their basic needs. This is further deteriorated by the insufficient access to capital preventing them from starting small scale businesses.