KAMPALA – The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the UN Refugee Agency received US $1,666,667 from the Republic of Korea in 2021 to support refugees and host communities in Uganda, with a focus on strengthening health care, water, hygiene and sanitation services across the response.
This contribution, which is part of a three-year grant totalling US $5 million for 2020-2022, fulfils a pledge that the Republic of Korea made at the Global Refugee Forum in December 2019 in Geneva, committing to support a comprehensive refugee response in Uganda.
Home to over 1.47 million refugees, Uganda is the largest refugee-hosting country in Africa and serves as a role model worldwide for the implementation of the Comprehensive Refugee Response Framework (CRRF) and the Global Compact on Refugees – a blueprint that calls for greater support for refugees and the countries that welcome them.
However, resources for the refugee response have been insufficient to address the increasing needs of a growing population. The outbreak of COVID-19 in March 2020 and the lockdown measures to contain its spread posed additional challenges, exacerbating an already dire situation.
“Uganda is a leading example demonstrating how refugees and host communities can thrive together. This is why the Korean government made a decision to support Uganda through
UNHCR. I believe Korea’s contribution will help ease pressure on local communities,” says Ha Byung-kyoo, Korean Ambassador in Uganda.
The donation from the Republic of Korea will enable UNHCR to continue strengthening delivery of primary health care services in refugee settlements and surrounding areas as well as epidemic preparedness and response to outbreaks, including COVID-19, in coordination
with the Ministry of Health. The funding will also contribute to improving provision of water, access to sanitation and hygiene promotion across the refugee response in collaboration with
the Ministry of Water and Environment.
“We deeply appreciate the ongoing support from the Government of Korea,” says Joel Boutroue, UNHCR Representative to Uganda.
“This unearmarked funding gives us much?needed flexibility to direct resources where most needed.”
In the context of COVID-19, the contribution from the Republic of Korea is vital to support the work of over 3,000 Village Health Team volunteers in sensitizing the communities about the risks and impact of the pandemic and ensuring community-based disease surveillance.
This funding also contributes towards maintaining the quality of care in health facilities, through adequate number of health workers, drugs and medical supplies.
In addition to providing direct funding to UNHCR, the Republic of Korea is a major donor to the Uganda Refugee Response Plan (RRP), with over US $15 million provided to UN and NGO partners only in 2020 to cover gaps in education, environmental protection, food security and protection. Since 2017, the Republic of Korea has contributed around US $40 million to carry out various interventions in the Uganda refugee response.
Since the launch of the CRRF in 2017, the Government of Uganda has included refugees in the national development plans and endorsed sector plans to improve delivery of social services in refugee-hosting districts, namely Education, Health, Water and Environment, and Jobs and Livelihoods.
The only refugee-hosting county in the world with such plans, Uganda needs sustained support from the international community to ease pressure on local communities and strengthen further the capacity of local service delivery as the refugee population continues to grow.