By Prossy Nandudu & Winnie Apolot
Nutrition of refugees in Nakivale and Kyangwali refugee settlements is set to improve through the cash vouchers, that will be issued to some 2,000 refugees.
The beneficiaries include child-headed families, expectant and lactating mothers in addition to the elderly.
With the cash voucher, they can buy food such as fruits and vegetables, cereals and milk among others to supplement the food items given by the World Food Programme.
The revelation was made by the team leader of Action Against Hunger, Rita Kabanyoro, while receiving financial support from the French Government at the Embassy in Nakasero on May 25, 2023.
The financial support worth Euros 500,000 is part of France’s 2023 Programmed Food Assistance to support the nutrition and food security of vulnerable households and communities in the two refugee settlements.
According to Kabanyoro, levels of stunting and wasting in Uganda is over 30% which means, that three out 10 of Ugandan children are stunted.
“When it comes to the refugee community, where Uganda is host to about 1.5million refugees, of which Nakivale and Kyangwali have about 300,000, the situation escalates, so the financial support help in addressing the nutritional status of refugees,” Kabanyoro added.
Apart from the food vouchers, refugees in the South-Western region of Uganda will be grouped to teach them farming in addition to the provision of seeds and technologies such as irrigation and also support them to acquire land for farming so as to become food secure over the next 12 months of the project and beyond.
“At the moment government allocates refugees a 30X30ft piece of land, which is quite small for some. Through our land acquisition campaign, we have so far secured 1,000 acres in Nakivale and 800 acres in Kyangwali to be used by farmers to cultivate crops,” she added.
While signing the agreement, the French Ambassador to Uganda Xavier Sticker said Kyangwali and Nakivale refugee settlements, which hosts a large number of new refugees from DRC, the food situation remains critical, with extremely high rates of stunting and anaemia.
Refugee households rely mainly on humanitarian aid as their main source of income in Nakivale refugee households use emergency coping strategies.
“While the situation for new arrivals is particularly challenging, the need to improve livelihood options and opportunities for all refugee households is growing ever more critical. The ability of humanitarian assistance to cover the Minimum Expenditure Basket has rapidly decreased since 2020, which calls for more investments in Agriculture,” said Sticker.
The money will also support other activities such as increasing access to more diversified nutritional diets and food for 1,000 at-risk households through the provision of Fresh Food Vouchers.
Improve the nutritional status of 1,000 refugees and host community households through self-production of diversified nutritious foods at home.
Support 600 households to do large-scale agricultural production for food security and self-reliance, but also undertake Social and Behavior Change Communication at household and community levels to improve feeding practices and raise awareness of malnutrition prevention and treatment among others.