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Building a Future with Refugees in Uganda

By Kelly Jennings-Robinson

June is World Refugee Awareness Month and June 20th is World Refugee Day. It is a time to honour and reflect on the strength, courage and resilience of the millions of people who have been forcibly displaced from their homes and have had to rebuild their lives from scratch.  

Since July 2016, the Ugandan refugee crisis has reached unprecedented levels. Uganda is currently Africa’s largest hosting state, and the world’s third largest, with over 1.4 million refugees across 30 settlements. New arrivals enter daily, the majority of whom are fleeing conflict and food insecurity in the Democratic Republic of Congo and South Sudan.  

Uganda has a progressive refugee policy. It upholds a refugee’s right to move freely, work, own property, resettle and access land and basic services. Despite this, refugees face many challenges. 

These include:

  • High reliance on cash
  • Lack of access to financial services
  • Low levels of empowerment and self-esteem (especially women)
  • Isolation from local markets

Opportunity International is embarking on an exciting new project in the Nakivale and Kiriondongo settlements. The project will enable 20,000 refugee households to build secure and stable lives for themselves and their children. It will do this by:

  • Increasing financial security through savings accounts and financial training
  • Increasing earning opportunities through loans and digital finance that enable people to build businesses and access local market
  • Increasing disposable income by building successful businesses after receiving finance and business training
  • Increasing self-esteem, particularly amongst women

We are looking forward to sharing stories from our clients in the coming weeks and months.

Watch this space!


Nakivale Refugee Settlement, Uganda

      Nakivale Refugee Settlement, Uganda.  Photo by Helen Manson. 





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