As the world celebrated world Refugees Day here in Uganda, the youth from both Refugee camps and host communities took time off to reflect on the various challenges and acknowledge the journey and importance Uganda has taken in polishing services provided to refugees in recent times.
Four majors were highlighted during the Side event at UNFPA’s head offices here in Kampala. Four teams, namely; Team Education, Team Health, Team Participation, Team Economic Empowerment in line with UN Sustainable Development Goals 2020.
A recent UNHCR’s report says refugees are five times more likely to be out of school than the global average. Only 50 per cent of refugee children have access to primary education, compared with a global average of more than 90 per cent. The gap widens as these children become older, with only 22% of refugee adolescents attending secondary school compared to a global average of 84%. At the higher education level, fewer than 1% of refugees attend university, compared to 34% at global level.
The education team highlighted issues of luck of scholastic materials, poor educational infrastructure, language barriers between the Ugandan teachers and the refugee students, segregation in host communities in school and basis of nationality/origin, high dropout rates, the cost of education amongst others.
The youth in the refugee camps and host communities hope to benefit from the pledges from the recently concluded Solidarity Summit as a portion the monies will go to facilitating provision of quality education services
The Health team did a quick presentation of the state of affairs and key challenges facing the health pillar ranging from luck of basic health care services to inadequate medicines and poor sanitation services in both Camps and Host communities with little government and donor agency involvement. Other issues included poor communication (Language Barrier between the Doctors/Medic practitioners and the refugees), Luck of basic sex education that has led to; teenage pregnancies, spread of HIV/AIDs and other STIs, High rates of school dropouts. ( Also read, 3 reasons for a comprehensive sexuality education ).
Organizations like RAHU are thought leaders when it comes to spreading sexuality education to the youth regardless of their origin, nationality, color or tribe and are front-runners in giving the youth in camps health support as well as education them through out their many programs include SAUTIPlus, Hack4Life, Let Girls Be Girls, Karamoja Connect and more. The Youth in camps and host communities hope for better health services from Uganda, local organizations and all global partners.
The youth also sighted out economic empowerment and lack of both capital resources as well as financial literacy. They encouraged the international community and donor agencies to facilitate them and support education the natures skills development and financial literacy as a control to poverty and its evils in camp communities.
Other Issues sighted out by the youth zeroed down to mainly awareness, service delivery, acceptability, participation and inclusion where the youth in camps believe they should have a say in the policies and laws that govern them.
The refugee summit was held at Speke Resort Hotel Munyonyo where over $320M was raised in pledges to support refugees in Uganda.