Uganda faces influx of refugees fleeing from brutal violence in the Democratic Republic of the Congo
According to the UN, the violence that has been escalating withing DR Congo has displaced more than four million people in total. So far, this year alone about 70,000 people have fled from conflict in the DRC to neighboring camps in Uganda. Many arrive in Uganda missing family members and in dire conditions; specifically women and girls face additional gender-based violence and rape, both in the conflict zones and also on the way to Uganda. Medical services and trauma counseling is greatly needed to provide these displaced people with dignified care, treatments and decent quality of life.
The refugee camps throughout East Africa often lack resources, organization, security and a long term plan. Some interesting solutions could be better developed to encourage opportunities for these refugees to contribute to Ugandan society and economy. For instance, there is a need for a larger labor source in the agricultural industry in Uganda; specifically in coffee production, where there is an expressed lack of labor and desire to engage youth and women in the production of coffee - a very important export product for Uganda.
The basic tools given to refugee families to build a shelter and small garden are a starting point, but in order to create a truly productive, livable farm more external assistance and infrastructure is needed in the camps to initiate such programs. Developing many small-scale subsistence farms within or around refugee camps for basic survival needs is doable and provides a purpose and increased quality of life for people living there. For a longer term solution, initiating as many refugees as possible, specifically youth and women, into the coffee production sector and providing them with agricultural training could benefit both Ugandan citizens and economy, as well as the refugees - giving them hope for a safer, healthier future.
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