In response to the Government of Uganda’s request for support for the Settlement Transformative Agenda (STA), the UN family and the World Bank are in the process of developing a five-year Refugee and Host Population Empowerment (ReHoPE) strategy, a multi-year joint framework for self-reliance and resilience programming for refugee and host communities in Uganda’s ten refugee-hosting districts. ReHoPE seeks to move beyond a traditional ‘care and maintenance approach’ to enable refugees and their host communities to become safer, self-reliant and to live their lives with dignity. ReHoPE ultimately aims to develop new and innovative approaches to protracted forced displacement by addressing the humanitarian-development nexus. This goal is expected to be achieved through joint analysis, collective advocacy, integrated service delivery and joint resource mobilization. The ReHoPE strategy provides the basis for proposed joint programming of up to $350 million over five years.
ReHoPE emphasizes close working relationships between the Government, UN, World Bank, private sector and development partners in planning and implementation. The Office of the Prime Minister (OPM) Department of Refugees, key line ministries and the nine District Local Governments (DLGs) are central partners in the planning and coordination of development-oriented interventions and in basic service provisions. The Government leadership ensures that UN and World Bank support will promote resilience and self-reliance in line with the local development priorities, given the recognition that refugees, nationals and hosting-districts face similar development and basic service delivery challenges and are more susceptible to shocks than areas not hosting refugees.
The ultimate goal is to provide economic assistance and social service provision and for it to be mainstreamed through the DLGs in order to improve equity, relevance and cost effectiveness, in ways that support refugees and host communities without distinction. The way service delivery is integrated will differ between regions. In regions where refugees are settled on community owned land (e.g. West Nile), as well as in Kampala, the refugee groupings will be smaller and interspersed among the local host community. In contrast, in those regions where refugees are in gazetted settlements, with infrastructure already built, it will be a matter of gradually handing over existing services and infrastructure to local government. In both situations, support to, and capacity development of, DLGs is needed to ensure that basic service delivery is maintained despite the added population.
To date, a number of initiatives have been launched in support of ReHoPE:
- The Koboko Partnership - a public-private partnership between the Government of Uganda Office of the Prime Minister, Koboko District Local Government, UNHCR, ACAV (a civil society organization) and Kato EcoFarming (a private enterprise) to provide 7,500 refugee and host community households with training on modern agricultural techniques and improved access to markets.
- Yunus Social Business – a partnership between UNHCR and Nobel Prize winner Muhammad Yunus’ social entrepreneurship vehicle designed to leverage the strength of the private sector to create jobs, generate income, and empower and capacitate the youth.
- OPM-WFP-UNHCR Joint Project for Self-Reliance – a multi-year project in Rwamwanja and Kyangwali settlements to deliver comprehensive support in agriculture and non-farm income generating activities to 3,500 refugee and host community households, thereby reducing food dependency enhancing food diversity and increasing self-reliance and resilience.
- The Japanese International Cooperation Agency (JICA) has provided support to three refugee settlements through their Promotion of Rice Development (PRiDe) project, enhancing refugee self-reliance by improving access to markets for cash crops.
A multi-disciplinary approach through innovative solutions is key for livelihoods including SGBV, youth employment and empowerment, and energy and environment.
The World Bank’s Regional Operation on Development Response to Displacement Impacts Project in the Horn of Africa (DRDIP) is a US$175 million lending operation that aims to improve access to social services, expand economic opportunities, and enhance environmental management for host and forcibly displaced households in the targeted areas of Djibouti, Ethiopia and Uganda. The project’s investments will focus on: (i) socio-economic development; (ii) sustainable environmental management, (iii) livelihoods; and (iv) project management and regional and national institutional support. As part of this project, the Government of Uganda is borrowing US$50 million to support its Settlement Transformative Agenda. DRDIP will focus on the following refugee-hosting districts: Adjumani, Arua, Kiryandongo and Isingiro.