Poverty reduction initiative in Rhino Camp Refugee Settlement: a case of German Development Service (DED) income generating activities
The Government of Uganda (GoU) through the Office of the Prime Minister (OPM), UNHCR and DED have been implementing a number of development programs in Arua District aimed at improving the livelihoods of refugees in Rhino Camp Refugee Settlement. Their major interventions have been in the area of security, health, education, water and income generating projects. This refugee settlement was set up in 1994 and it has a total of 16,344 refugees. The refugees are not engaged in production of wealth and not gainfully employed. They do not have relatives outside who are sending them money. The camp therefore is characterized by massive poverty destitution. The intervention by OPM, UNHCR and DED are aimed at reducing this poverty among the refugees in the camps. However, the situation in Rhino camp has remained wanting in regard to provision of basic necessities such as nutritional aspects and educational requirements. It was this phenomenon that provoked this case study. The study examined the poverty reduction initiatives in this area by focusing on the DED income generating activities in this Settlement. It sought to analyze DED’s interventions, achievements and the challenges it was facing in implementing income generating activities (IGAs). Datum was collected from a sample of DED staff and refugees using a variety of research methods which included questionnaires, focus group discussions and interviews. The findings of this study revealed that DED’s interventions were significantly helping to improve on the livelihoods of the refugees. Many refugees were able to pay school fees for their children’s education and cater for family health care. However, the study noted poor evaluation and monitoring of the projects, lack of training facilities and inadequate loans. Based on these the study recommended that all refugees should be availed with IGA facilities to promote self reliance. It also recommended that Government should promote tailored vocational training skills and micro finance to refugees and provide technical personnel to service the IGA machines. The Government should also monitor and evaluate NGO’s activities within the country especially the projects meant for poverty reduction.