KAMPALA – The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) commends the Government of Uganda and all its donors for helping it to contribute to the basic food needs of 1.2 million refugees and their host communities across the country in 2019.
Donors and the Government of Uganda supported WFP to meet the basic dietary needs of refugees through monthly food or cash transfers. In addition, donors funded the treatment and prevention of malnutrition among refugees and Ugandans living around refugee settlements.
WFP was also able to support smallholder farmers to improve their yields and incomes while reducing food losses.
“The partnership between government, donors and WFP is vital to fight hunger and malnutrition in Uganda,” said El-Khidir Daloum, WFP Country Director. “The ability of donors to swiftly provide funding and entrust us to deliver assistance to those seeking refuge —often women and children fleeing unimaginable hardships—needs our heartfelt recognition.”
In 2019, WFP’s refugee operation received contributions from Uganda, Canada, the European Commission, Ireland, Japan, Sweden, the Republic of Korea, the Russian Federation, the United Kingdom, the UN Central Emergency Response Fund and the United States of America.
Donors enabled WFP to help boost economies within Uganda by purchasing food locally. In addition, WFP strengthened its food and cash distribution procedures, including using biometrics to confirm identities in order to improve the accountability and integrity of the refugee response.
The government and donors helped WFP to expand cash-based transfers, reaching 35 percent of all refugees assisted. Cash allows refugees to choose what food they buy and stimulates economic growth in and around settlements. Cash also boosts government efforts to enhance financial inclusion.
Through cash-based transfers, WFP injected US$35 million into refugee settlements in 2019.
At the end of 2019, Uganda hosted 1.38 million refugees— the highest number of refugees in Africa. More than 67,300 refugees arrived from the Democratic Republic of Congo and South Sudan between July and December. Women and people under the age of 18 make up 83 percent of refugees.
They typically arrive in Uganda with little to no assets, leaving them heavily dependent on assistance. A WFP and government study in 2017 found that even while the government gives land and the UN and other organizations provide additional assistance, refugees remain vulnerable for years.
By meeting their basic food and nutrition needs, WFP and its partners enable refugees to begin a journey toward self-reliance and resilience in line with Uganda’s refugee policy.
Donors to WFP’s relief and development work in Uganda to support refugees and host communities in 2019 were: Canada (US$562,000), the European Commission’s Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection Department (US$16 million), Ireland (US$2.3 million), Japan (US$2 million), the Republic of Korea (US$7 million of oil and rice), Russia (US$1.5 million), Sweden (US$1.7 million), Uganda (US$2.7 million of rice), the United Kingdom (US$56 million), the UN Central Emergency Response Fund (US$3.5 million) and the United States of America (US$110.6 million).
Contributions also came from multilateral (US$2 million) and private donors (US$306,400).
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The United Nations World Food Programme is the world’s largest humanitarian organization, saving lives in emergencies, building prosperity and supporting a sustainable future for people recovering from conflict, disasters and the impact of climate change.
This is not the first time the Kenyan Government have claimed they want to close the Kakuma and Dadaab Refugee Camp. That has been done before, they did this in May and June 2016. Even the Federal Republic of Somalia was worried at one point, that the refugees would suddenly return after the notification of the closure back then. Suddenly late in August 2016, the U.S. Government suddenly dropped more money on the Refugee Camps. Than, it became silence and no problem hosting them. The same happen with the European Union in 2017 and certainly, the same government hopes in happens in 2019. However, don’t be surprised, if someone get hooked on the bait.
Because in August 2016, the US Administration stated this:
“WASHINGTON D.C., United States of America, August 23, 2016 – Today, Secretary of State John Kerry announced in Nairobi that the United States is providing more than $146 million in additional U.S. humanitarian assistance to support refugees, voluntary returnees, and drought victims in Kenya and Somalia. This new funding includes a significant new contribution of more than $59 million for the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) to protect and assist refugees in Kenya, and support voluntary refugee returns to Somalia. In addition, the funding includes new humanitarian assistance of more than $87 million in food and non-food support for refugees and drought victims in Kenya and Somalia. This announcement brings the total of U.S. humanitarian assistance in Kenya and Somalia to nearly $265 million in fiscal year 2016” (U.S. Department of State – ‘Additional Funding for Kenya and Somalia’ (23.08.2016)
The next year in 2017, in February the High Court of Kenya even blocked the Closure of the Refugee Camp. Even the European Parliament in May 2017 adopted a text on the Camp stating this:
“whereas the EU has allocated EUR 286 million through the European Development Fund (EDF) for the period 2014-2020, focusing on the implementation of the ‘Compact’ and on state and peace building, food security, resilience and education in particular; whereas the EU Emergency Trust Fund (EUTF) for Africa was signed at the Valletta Summit on 12 November 2015 and was designed to address the root causes of destabilisation, forced displacement and irregular migration by promoting resilience, economic opportunities, equal opportunities, security and development; whereas the EU is responding to the lifesaving basic needs of refugees hosted in Kenyan refugee camps” (EU, 18.05.2017).
Why do I post these old statements on extra added funding for the Refugee Camps in Kenya. Well, the Kenyan Government is now known for having notified the UNHCR, that they would close the Dadaab Refugee Camp and not do it. Because, it is one solution and we all know why they do this. The refugee camps are bargain chips for more funding. This is what they do. It is not the first time and not the last.
This is also the knowledge of the Kenyan Government, that is why they can force again the rich Western Countries, the well-wishing, not-to-friendly wealthy benefactors for own personal benefit. So, they can pay a higher price and drop more jewels on the Refugee Camp. Because, that solves the problem at home and also keeps it going as it has been.
That is why the Kenyan government in the hour of need, in their mercy for some foreign exchange can expose their greed. Notify of the closure of the Refugee Camp. To ensure, that the Western Partners, the ones who donates aid, actually gives them some more. To keep the 30 year old venture up and also pay-off the cronies in Nairobi. Which also needs part of the stake in the Aid Business. They don’t want to skimped out of the well deserved funds for hosting these people.
That is why the same government have tried this trick in 2016, 2017 and now returns to the old venture of skimming money out a refugee problem, again in 2019. We could lie and say, they are really need in more funds and in dire need for such, and such. But then, we would kid ourselves and also the general public.
There are always need for more programs, better food and more possibilities for the ones staying a place Dadaab, but that is not the reason why the Kenyan government did notify the UNHCR. They are hungry and want to eat. It is their turn to eat. That is why the smelled the empty plates and want their UNGA too. Peace.
You would think that the Office of the Prime Minister, who is in-charge of the Refugees in Uganda, would trade the waters carefully, after the last year scandal of thousands upon thousands of ghost refugees. Which the OPM and the state was cashing in on. No, no, no, they are having yet another scheme, as the government are planning to misuse the refugee crisis in the neighbour countries to their advantage. The National Resistance Movement (NRM) have no trouble doing so.
The Prime Minister Dr. Rugunda Ruhakana has clearly not lost the touch of deception or lying to the International Community for a buck. Here is yet another scheme made up to make the numbers sky-rocket!
“More than 1000 Ugandans living in areas neighbouring Kyangwali refugee settlement were forced to attain refugee status in order to retain ‘ownership’ of their land. The scheme was reportedly crafted by Charles Bafaki, the principal resettlement officer in the Office of the Prime Minister (OPM), Jolly Kebirungi, the camp commandant Kyangwali refugee settlement area, in the newly created Kikuube district and Lutaaya Vianney from ministry of Lands” (URN – ‘OPM forced Ugandans to register as refugees in Kyangwali’ 02.01.2019, link:https://observer.ug/news/headlines/59562-opm-officials-forced-ugandans-to-register-as-refugees-in-kyangwali).
With this in mind, the government are putting lives in jeopardy, making the citizens play as refugees, and not being citizens themselves. Supposed to seek refugee in a camp instead of living their ordinary life. This in a way to get higher numbers of refugees and more need of aid to take care of them. If this isn’t misusing resources and also reckless behaviour against own citizens. Nothing is. This is what Steady Progress means in the NRM land.
The OPM are already known for inflating numbers, but now they cheating also by making Ugandan citizens into refugees. That is really ensuring the UNHCR and all agencies for fools. As the GoU and OPM have no trouble risking their own citizens as pawns in a scheme to secure funding. While, also using this scheme to scare locals of losing their land, if they didn’t play along. That is how far they take it.
No mercy, no problems ensuring suffering for people, as long as the OPM secures more funds to itself. Peace.
The UN Office of Internal Oversight (OIOS) audit report into UNHCR’s Uganda operation, released this week, contains findings that show clear gaps and weaknesses in risk management in a number of areas during the period between July 2016 and December 2017. The audit followed the massive influx of refugees from South Sudan in 2016 – mid 2017, when UNHCR’s staffing capacity in key functions and in remote locations was very low, followed by a rapidly expanded operation in the second half of 2017 with many new staff and partners.
UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, is in the business of saving lives and protecting people. Maintaining the trust and confidence of our donors and of the general public is of utmost importance to us. A number of internal reviews and technical oversight missions had identified risky areas in the operation during 2017. UNHCR worked closely with the OIOS auditors, who came to Uganda in February 2017, identifying issues and providing information that was used in the audit. We have accepted the recommendations of the OIOS auditors and have been working to address them well before this report was issued on 27 November, including in conjunction with Uganda’s Office of the Prime Minister.
Underscoring the urgency with which UNHCR was seized with these issues, the High Commissioner for Refugees, Filippo Grandi, visited Kampala in January 2018 to assess the complex challenges being faced in the refugee response and meet with the government at the highest level. Amongst other measures introduced, he agreed with the Prime Minister to launch the verification exercise into refugee registration data just completed. He also upgraded the leadership of the UNHCR operation to manage these challenges. Various corrective measures have been put in place, supported by a plan for ongoing and future actions. There is continuous follow-up.
Measures we have taken to date include revising or redesigning and rolling out new Standard Operating Procedures for the reception of refugees, their registration, protection, assistance (food, non-food items – core relief supplies) and case management. The complaints and feedback mechanisms for refugees have been strengthened with a new inter-agency call-centre. We have also strengthened staffing in key operations functions, in particular with regard to reinforced capacities in oversight and management. These include the establishment of a senior post in risk management and compliance. Monitoring and reporting functions have additionally been reviewed, revised and enhanced.
In regard to road construction, an investigation is ongoing and we are pursuing a full recovery of funds from any project partners of concern. Allowances paid to civil servants are verified through attendance records and payment to individual bank accounts with overall responsibility lying with the government.
To address concerns about the accuracy of registration data, a countrywide biometric verification exercise of the refugee and asylum-seeker population was conducted between March and October 2018. The Government of Uganda is now committed to using the appropriate tools for continuous registration, which is their responsibility, and to ensuring the integrity of the registration process. The strengthened registration and case management systems will improve service and assistance delivery, including distribution of food. UNHCR is working closely with the Office of the Prime Minister in the roll-out of these new systems and jointly addressing obstacles that emerge in their practical application at field level.
UNHCR has also closely reviewed its monitoring of water delivery trucking in remote refugee settlements. We are doing top-to-bottom reviews of contracts, invoices and delivery verification before proceeding with any payments. Significant progress has been made in reducing water trucking, which is expensive, from 37 per cent in May 2017 to 7 per cent over the course of the year, following completion of several water schemes in Rhino, Imvepi and Palorinya refugee settlements in northern Uganda. With the new measures in place, we expect a further reduction to 5 per cent in December 2018.
The audit recommendations vis-à-vis partnership management, performance monitoring, procurement procedures, non-food item distribution and warehouse management are being addressed and toughened measures have been put in place, including with partner organizations and the Office of the Prime Minister, where these activities are jointly implemented. Progress will be reviewed regularly.
UNHCR has additionally established a high-level dialogue with the Office of the Prime Minister and other government authorities on the audit findings, including regarding recovery of funds as may be needed. Fuel cards and vehicle tracking have been introduced for implementation in 2019. A task force has been set up to review projects implemented by the Office of the Prime Minister. A preliminary report is due in mid-December.
UNHCR is determined to ensure the full integrity of the refugee response in Uganda and is addressing all issues identified in the audit report.
Today, it was two vital reports that came out on the subject. Both was how the National Resistance Movement, the NRM and President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni and his government have been involved in the South Sudan civil war. For me this wasn’t shocking or really news. The reports locally has been there.
That the Uganda People’s Defence Force (UPDF) have supported the Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA) with arms, guns and weapons training. Even in the midst of an United Nations Embargo. Which wasn’t long ago, that the Uganda President promised to continue to supply the South Sudanese counterparts. However, none of that has gotten as a MEMO to the Western partners of Ugandan war-machine. Who has continued to supply them with arms and later on been traded to third parties in South Sudan.
While the guns and arms been flowing, the refugees has seek shelter and relief in Northern Uganda. As the same Western partners has donated funds as the massive refugee flow from across the border. As they are fleeing the conflict and civil war. The same Ugandan government, to trick the numbers and schemes to fund various operations of the state, even buy an expensive plot for a parking lot for the Office of the Prime Minister, has used them. This is the sort of activity happens from the government, who supply arms to the conflict, they are asking the same foreign donors to help with trouble it creates.
The UNCHR has spent a total of $129,9m in 2016 and $210m in 2017 on the Refugee operation in Uganda. This while the Ugandan authorities has ballooned the numbers and added over 300,000 refugees, which was ghosts. Therefore, the UNHCR and OPM had to after the scandal have a registration and verification drive, which also cost the UN Agency money. For instance, the OPM claimed to pay for 72 civil servants working on UNHCR projects and paying them salaries, but there was no clear documentation if they really existed or had a job. There was also procurement done without prior authorization or documents going up to about $34,4m, which was not approved off or cleared by the UNHCR.
When you combine these reports, show how blatant disregard the Ugandan government have, how they are both the mediator, the arms supplier and the refugee relief. While getting both the value for money for the arms, they are getting benefit on the refugees and they are supplying high-ranking government officials because of it. You can clearly get the gist of the operation.
The Ugandan government have been earning and using the conflict to gain monetary gains, in each side of the bargain. By circumventing the arms-embargo, while being a mediator and official “peace-maker” and hosting the refugees from the same conflict. That is really staggering, when your combining all the efforts and tricks done, to get another buck. Earning fortunes on others misfortune. Peace.
Minister Hillary Onek and Prime Minister Ruhakana Rugunda can make any excuses in the books of civil service. Not that they will be true for that matter, because earlier this year. It was revealed that in several of the refugee camps and settlements in the Republic of Uganda. The Government of Uganda had inflated the numbers, so they to could gain international recognition and also monetary gains for the needed people seeking refuge there.
This was ghosting refugees and the ones fleeing wars in Democratic Republic of Congo and South Sudan. Where the majority of the refugees comes from. This was a real scandal, that shown how the authorities are using the misfortune of others to eat donor pledges and multi-national organizations supply of foreign currency. To facilitate food, shelter and other needed services for the ones living in the refugee camps and settlements.
Take a look at this:
“The Government of Uganda has one of the most progressive refugee policies, allowing refugees and asylum-seekers to live in gazetted refugee settlements and exercise freedom of movement and settlement within the country. As a routine practice, the government has provided a grace period of two months within which any registered refugee and asylum-seeker who missed the exercise, can approach OPM for verification. Taking this into consideration, the above verification numbers are preliminary. A more detailed analysis will be undertaken after the grace period. The difference between the initial verification target stands at 352,643 individuals. Among those, 255,490 individuals were verified as inactive and closed for the following reasons: a) 158,533 individuals whose whereabouts are unknown as reported by family members; b) 34,174 were reported by their families to have returned to their countries of origin; c) 9,481 were identified to have registered more than once; e) 3,931 were reported deceased; f) 1,489 were closed as they were Ugandan nationals; and (g) a verification exercise by OPM in April 2018 confirmed the urban refugee population to be 55,812” (UNHCR – ‘Joint statement by UNHCR and OPM on preliminary results of refugee verification exercise’ 08.11.2018).
So, the OPM and the National Resistance Movement (NRM) played this game with the lives of refugees and with the donor nations. Hoping to score more funding for non-existing refugees, getting funds and grants for people who never existed. That shows the devastation and extortion of the situation. When the ones in dire need and the ones in camp together with forged numbers are used in a scheme.
That is why the UPM and UNHCR had to do this exercise in the first place, as the lack of trust in the numbers. As they sky-rocketed and ballooned into ridiculous levels.
The OPM Refugee scandal of this years shows the value of oversight and due diligence, as the need to verify the numbers and the stats. That is why there is missing or ghosting over 352,000 people as refugees in Uganda. That shows how corrupt and how the state used the ability of refugees to take money from others.
Therefore, these sort of joint actions should happen often. To secure that the GoU and the OPM isn’t rigging the numbers in their favor. Peace.
Since February 2018, the Office of the Prime Minister (OPM) Dr. Ruhukana Rugunda has been under fire for faking the numbers of refugees in the settlements and camps within the Republic of Uganda. Where they we’re doubling and tripling the numbers of refugees in Kampala and West Nile. These figures and set-backs have clearly sent out a memo to the United Nations Organizations. As they have been active since March 2018.
On the 20th October 2018 this has been done by United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR) and the OPM are now verifying the amounts of refugees. This is significant, since this will establish the real numbers and how many who is really there. The individuals and their fate is more important, than their numbers, but when they have cheated on it to get more donor funding. These numbers become more vital. So, that the donations and the grants to help out these individuals come to the right ones and not being eaten by government officials.
The numbers dropped on the 20th October 2018 are after a verification exercise done in Adjumani District, this being in Bidibidi settlement on the 16th October 2018. They we’re able to target what they estimate 85% of the population there. In Bidibidi verified a total of 203,392. That is not all, but shows to what extent the refugee crisis is.
While in Kampala: “the daily turnout continues to be very low despite additional efforts on mobilization. The verification site remained open on Saturday to allow students and others to be verified over the weekend. However, over the period of six days, only 1,583 individuals were verified, majority being Congolese. In light of the low attendance, the verification team has operated at reduced capacity and the final day has been agreed by OPM-UNHCR as Wednesday 24th October” (OPM-UNHCR VERIFICATION EXERCISE: Update, 20.10.2018).
Therefore, the total estimate with all this exercises since March 2018 to 20th October 2018. Which states: “The ongoing verification of refugees in Uganda that started on 1st March 2018, verified a total of 17,428 individuals last week bringing the total as of 20th October 2018 to 1,088,415” (OPM-UNHCR VERIFICATION EXERCISE: Update, 20.10.2018).
So the are margins of error are still there. But the real crunched numbers are there. As the UNCHR wants the truth, as they are trying to collect funding for the operations of the settlements. Since the Ugandan government also wants to secure the donations too. This is all part of that and validate the need for the refugees. The scandal could block the support and trust in the agencies and the rampant forgery of numbers earlier in the year. This exercise was needed to build trust. Now the accuracy is more likely there. They might still try to find a way to inflate it, but it will be harder. Because the base-numbers through the verification makes it harder.
This was needed because of the lie, the lie of the numbers. These are now shattered. Now, the reality is there. It is still a million refugees and they need help. Both in the present, but also for building their future. That perspective is needed. This is people who fled burning villages, militias and armies fighting each other. They need space and trust to grow and rebuild. These people are trying to build a home. That is what should be focus and giving them hope in a dire situation. They are not just numbers.
Even if this story has been about the baseline numbers of refugees in the republic. That is because of the OPM inflated numbers to cheat donors funds. To earn money on their tragedy. That shall not be forgotten. But in the same manner. We need to discuss, how we can give this people hope for a better tomorrow. Peace.