Uganda Refugee Response Monitoring: Settlement Fact Sheet: Oruchinga | December 2017
Oruchinga settlement, opened as a transit center in 1959 and was officially established as a settlement in 1961, hosts more than 6,900 refugees from Burundi, the Democratic Republic of Congo, and Rwanda. The settlement is not receiving new arrivals, aside from family reunifications, referrals, and protection cases. Although shelter and infrastructure are developed, and the refugees seem to be well integrated with the host community, protection concerns and conflict over land and resources remain a challenge.
Gaps & Challenges
Overcrowded schools with few teachers, steep fees for secondary school, and inadequate facilities reportedly lead many children and youth to drop out of school. Refugees reported that many schools lack enough basic items such as desks, chairs, and school materials.
Other challenges to education include long distances to school locations and language barriers between pupils and teachers.
Refugees reported instances of sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV) and other violence, with inadequate assistance. Refugees reported feeling afraid and threatened, especially while collecting firewood in neighboring communities. Young girls, pregnant or single mothers, and orphans are particularly vulnerable groups in terms of security.
Weak local economies and lack of vocational training limit livelihoods opportunities for refugees. Some refugees used to attend vocational training in Nakivale, but the program was discontinued in 2017. Many resort to performing manual labor for members of the host community, but seek to develop skills outside of traditional agricultural activities. For the elderly and refugees with special needs, options to earn an income are even more limited because of their incapacity to farm.
Lack of access to sizable farming plots and agricultural inputs, coupled with inconsistent and insufficient food distribution, compromises refugees’ access to food. The increase in refugees across Uganda and breakages in the food pipeline decreased the amount of food available for refugees in Orichunga. When refugees can afford seeds to cultivate, droughts often ruin their harvest.
Delayed distributions leave families without food for weeks. Refugees, especially women, reportedly beg from the host community when food runs out or resort to negative coping mechanisms, including survival sex in order to be able to feed their children.
Medical services in health centers in the settlement are limited, lacking sufficient medication and comprehensive emergency and maternal health services. When health center pharmacies run out of stocks— provided by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), MTI, and national medical stores— refugees struggle to afford private clinics to purchase necessary medication and often resort to medicinal herbs and traditional remedies.