By Faith Nyasuguta
Refugees, their host communities in Uganda and Kenya will soon access $35 million for livelihood support for the next five years.
The funds are set to help in securing jobs for 20,000 people in both Kampala and Nairobi.
“We’re working with our partners and the IKEA Foundation on a five-year, €30 million ($35 million) initiative to develop livelihood opportunities for these vulnerable communities,” the International Rescue Committee (IRC) said in a report.
IRC and the IKEA (Ingvar Kamprad Elmtaryd Agunnaryd) Foundation have joined hands in a project dubbed “Refugees in East Africa: Boosting Urban Innovations for Livelihoods Development (Re: Build).”
“We want refugees to have meaningful, sustainable livelihoods…For us to bring a sense of community, cohesion and togetherness, we should, as much as possible, also provide support to host residents in these areas where we are going to be supporting refugees,” Priscilla Dembetembe, the project director for Re: Build at the IRC said.
The East African nations are home to the hugest displaced populations globally.
As of June, some 4.5 million refugees and 8.8 million internally displaced people (IDPs) were being hosted in the region.
In the report, the IRC mentions that most refugees are finding it hard to land safe and sustainable work.
With most refugees displaced following war and conflict, South Sudan, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Sudan account for the highest refugee numbers in the region.
South Sudan still tops the list of the highest refugee crisis in Africa and ranks third globally.
The UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) says that Uganda hosts the largest refugee population in the continent.
IRC added that refugees, just like local residents, suffer high unemployment rates and limited access to banks, loans, social safety nets and city services.
IRC seeks to recruit refugees to give them the required skills and qualifications they need to eventually work as full-time employees.