Uganda: Hope Beyond Borders

BACKGROUND AND Project Context

Uganda is one of the biggest host countries for refugees in the world. In the past few years, 1.5 million people have fled to the East African country in search of protection from violence and better prospects for the future. Most of them come from neighbouring South Sudan and are now living in various refugee settlements, often under difficult conditions. Sexualised violence, clashes between different ethnic groups and a lack of food are the challenges of everyday life in the settlements. The fact that the Ugandan population itself is struggling with similar problems and that many humanitarian organisations have already moved on to newer crisis regions exacerbates the problems of the refugees and makes it even more difficult for the different population groups to live together.

Horyzon is currently present in two of the refugee settlements. A third of the residents are young people, often fleeing alone or with younger siblings. The Horyzon project provides them with psychosocial and financial support. They receive therapy opportunities for trauma, can discuss taboo topics in supervised youth groups separated by gender or train themselves as amateur counsellors to support others affected. They also have the opportunity to complete vocational training in a technical trade or join savings groups in order to develop and realise a business idea together with other young people.

This gives the project participants a perspective for the future, they can actively participate in life in the refugee settlements and develop professionally and socially. They also learn that conflicts and tensions between different ethnic groups can be resolved through communication rather than violence. Stereotypical thinking and prejudices are reduced and peaceful coexistence in the settlements is promoted.

Locations

Activities and Effects

Project Part 1: Development of coping strategies

Activities

  • 600 refugees receive psychosocial support and, if necessary, legal advice. 300 severely traumatized people are referred to professional services.
  • A youth center is set up to provide a safe place for 120 young people

Expected result for 2024 (output)

  • 60% of project participants state that they have better mechanisms to deal with their experiences

Long-term result (outcome)

  • The young people affected integrate better into the community, which improves coexistence in the settlements.
Project part 2: Improving income opportunities

Activities

  • Five savings and investment groups for young people are set up
  • 40 young people each are trained in a course on financial planning, small entrepreneurship and business development and receive start-up support for their own small business.

Expected result for 2024 (output)

  • 80% of the young people organized in groups carry out income-generating measures or expand existing measures.

Long-term result (outcome)

  • 60% of the young people organized in groups can earn their own living and thus improve their prospects.
Project part 3: Political engagement and peace building

Activities

  • 150 young people are organized in peace groups.
  • Five awareness-raising events on five social topics are organized and carried out.
  • Various activities in the areas of drama, theater and sports are carried out with 50 young people.
  • Awareness-raising campaigns are implemented online and offline.
  • 80 young people will take part in four training sessions on advocacy.

Expected results for 2024 (outputs)

  • 30 young people take part in four relevant political forums at regional, national or international level
  • Young people take part in two dialogues with political decision-makers
  • 1,200 people receive online and offline information about awareness-raising campaigns

Long-term results (outcomes)

  • 40 young people are committed to achieving the UN's Sustainable Development Goals.
  • The young people work towards a political change process.

Results 2022

Young people have coping strategies
  • 628 people received personal psychosocial counselling. A total of 269 people were assessed with extreme psychosocial problems and referred to partner organisations for specialised support.
  • 110 adolescents attended regular weekly meetings in a safe place to discuss and be educated on taboo topics such as menstruation, puberty and contraception. They are thus better aware of their health rights.
Youth actively engaged in their communities
  • 52 youth participated in advocacy training with a focus on UN Resolution 1325 on women, peace and security. They learned how to advocate for these issues and their concerns and those of their community with policy makers. In addition, action plans were developed which later served as the basis for the implementation of youth-led community advocacy campaigns and awareness-raising on sexual and gender-based violence and domestic violence among refugees.
  • 6 groups of peacemakers inside and outside Kiryandongo refugee settlement were established with a total of 243 (73 female and 170 male) youth. The peacemakers were trained in advocacy, peace building and conflict resolution as well as conflict analysis and documentation. The groups were supported to conduct social change campaigns, drawing on the action plan and skills acquired during the training.
  • 1'2000 listeners from the refugee settlement and nearby areas were informed about a local radio talk show on early marriage and physical, as well as psychological child abuse by YGlobal experts.
  • Young people have the necessary knowledge on how to voice their interests and concerns publicly and at local political platforms.
  • The young people are actively involved in sensitising community members to their concerns and take on active roles in the community that benefit it.
Adolescents participate politically
  • Youth, who make up 30% of the refugee population in Kiryandongo, are directly involved in official dialogues on policy measures and can thus place their concerns that affect their lives and the peaceful coexistence of refugees.
  • With the support of YGlobal Uganda, a youth-led policy dialogue forum was organised with local government representatives. The dialogue adopted several policy recommendations, including the development of a local regulation to protect refugees from exploitation by members of the communities, especially when they lease land for cultivation. The policy makers also agreed to explore simplified access for refugee youth to local government funding.

Results 2021

Young people have coping strategies
  • 1,500 individuals received psychosocial support.
  • Under the "Let Girls Talk" initiative and the corresponding "Let Boys Talk" initiative, 80 girls and boys in Uganda received mentoring on sexual and reproductive health and rights and basic life skills.
  • A counseling center was built where psychosocial counseling, among other services, can be provided.
  • The adolescents were given a safe place to discuss and be educated on taboo topics such as menstruation, puberty and contraception. As a result, they are more knowledgeable about their health rights.
  • Adolescents have better coping mechanisms.
  • The construction of the counseling center has improved the quality of psychosocial counseling because it is closer to beneficiaries and provides more privacy for counseling sessions.
Young people actively engaged in their communities
  • Twenty adolescents participated in advocacy training.
  • Up to 1,000 listeners from the refugee settlement and nearby areas were informed by YGlobal experts about the local radio talk show on early marriage and physical, as well as psychological child abuse.
  • Participants launched and led an initiative for good hygiene management to prevent infection of the population with contagious diseases such as cholera and diarrhea, as well as covid-19.
  • Adolescents have the necessary knowledge on how to voice their interests and concerns publicly and at local political platforms.
  • Adolescents actively participate in making community members aware of their concerns and take active roles in the community that benefit it.
Adolescents participate politically
  • Through the advocacy efforts of youth from YGlobal Uganda, a law was ratified whereby young people are now elected to the board of the Refugee Welfare Committee in Kiryandongo, allowing them to voice their concerns at the political level.
  • Adolescents, who make up 30% of the refugee population in Kiryandongo, are directly involved in the official dialogues on policy measures and can thus place their concerns that affect their lives and the peaceful coexistence of the refugees.

 

Activities worldwide
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Further information

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Facts about the project

Name: Hope Beyond Borders
Partner organization: YGlobal Uganda
Locations: Refugee settlements in Kiryandongo and Adjumani, Uganda
Goal: Integration of young people in Uganda and participation in peacebuilding
Participants: Around 900 young people from South Sudan and Uganda who live in the two refugee settlements and neighbouring villages
Required funds 2024: CHF 187'500
Duration: Project exists since 2021, current phase: 2023 - 2024
Responsible: Elisha Frei, elisha.frei at horyzon.ch

Facts about Uganda

Population: 47,1 million (2021)
Capital: Kampala
Human Development Index: 0,525 (rank 166 of 191)
Life expectancy: 46,3 years (2022)

Source: Human Development Report