The Kiryandongo Refugee Settlement in Bweyale, Uganda, is a UNHCR managed refugee settlement that provides shelter, land, and support for more than 100,000 people. They are comprised of refugees from Kenya, DR Congo, Rwanda, Burundi, and South Sudan. RMF has partnered with UNHCR in supporting Kiryandango Refugee Settlement, the surrounding community of Bweyale, and the greater Kiryandongo District (an additional 266,197 people) with health care, education, and vocational training since 2008.
This initiative broadly describes RMF’s role in implementing three specific projects in the Kiryandongo Refugee Settlement.
On January 10th, Real Medicine Foundation (RMF) signed a tripartite agreement with UNHCR and the Government of Uganda to implement a health program aimed at addressing two goals:
- Emergency operations
- Care and maintenance of refugees and asylum seekers in Kiryandongo Refugee Settlement through the delivery of quality health care services
RMF supports three health facilities:
- Panyadoli Health Centre III
- Panyadoli Hills Health Centre II
- Reception Centre Clinic
These centers are directly being supported by UNHCR and RMF. RMF has hired a manager who is responsible for the overall implementation and coordination of planned interventions, whereas OPM and UNHCR do oversight functions. Activities are planned, coordinated, and reviewed on a weekly, monthly and quarterly basis through coordination meetings chaired by OPM at the settlement level.
RMF provides the clinic with,
- Medical supplies
- Cleaning staff
- Solar powered water system
RMF’s goal is to upgrade and maintain the Panyadoli Health Care Centres at a high level of hygienic and operating standards in order to improve the health status of the population. This is accomplished through,
- Medical support
- HIV/AIDS care
- Hygiene promotion
- Upkeep and renovation of the facilities
In April 2011, RMF initiated the Panyadoli Vocational Training Institute (PVTI) at the Kiryandongo Refugee Settlement after being presented by the refugee community with issues surrounding the lack of skills and vocational training for students graduating from the settlement high school.
After researching which skills would provide the quickest earning opportunities and the most efficient economic investment requirements for RMF, we narrowed the programs down to:
- Hairdressing and Beauty Therapy
- Bricklaying and Concrete Practice
- Carpentry and Joinery
- Tailoring and Garment Cutting
- To train the refugees with relevant vocational training skills
- To prepare the refugees for the work world with entrepreneurial skills for both employment and self-employment
- To prepare refugees with basic skills that they shall use for nation building when returning to their home country
The unstable political situation in South Sudan poses a significant risk that many more refugees will cross into Uganda in search of asylum. This may lead to a further increased population of refugees that has not been budgeted for, thus causing strain on the health system and other programs in the settlement.
In order to sustain results, RMF continues to conduct needs assessments to ascertain the arising need and inform its planning.
The aforementioned programs each play an important role in RMF’s overall humanitarian vision to ‘focus on the person as a whole’. Through access to health care services and vocational training, the long term vision for the Kiryandongo Refugee Settlement is to empower refugees to be self-sufficient once again.
“Kiryandongo has become a permanent settlement,” says Real Medicine Foundation Founder and CEO Dr. Martina Fuchs. “The residents cannot return to their homes, and they deserve opportunities for a future beyond the camp. Real Medicine’s programs want to supply not just concrete support, but a sense of hope that life can and will get better.”
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