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The pressing need to support refugees in Uganda

By Sam Bickersteth, Chief Executive

Uganda hosts the third largest population of refugees in the world, after Turkey and Pakistan.  Forced displacement now affects the lives of 71 million women, men and children - imagine the entire population of the UK and Ireland on the move!

No one doubts the generosity of Uganda’s government and people to the 1.3 million refugees and displaced people who settle there - many of whom come from South Sudan, DRC, Burundi and Rwanda.  Some doubts have been recently cast on the exact numbers as certain officials are being charged with corruption having abused their powers in what is an incredibly volatile context (see Guardian report of today).  However, the overall needs of this vast number of displaced people is clear.  According to a new report from the Norwegian Refugee Council it is badly unfunded.  Many people are starving, struggling to survive and in some cases incurring spiralling debts.   

We, along with our partners, are tackling the issue head on by providing refugees with financial training and support.  Providing refugees with access to affordable microfinance savings and loans requires new infrastructure, tailored products (to address their lack of collateral) and new ways of personal identification.  Our refugee project in Uganda is doing this.  It is providing secure options and choices for refugees in Uganda so they can avoid the exploitative interest rates of private lenders (up to 50%), rebuild their lives and ultimately establish sustainable businesses. 

If you would like to find out more about our appeal to support refugees, please read Scolaca's story here.   

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