Kyangwali refugee settlement has almost reached its carrying capacity with the majority; 113,000 from the Democratic Republic of the Congo and 3,300 from South Sudan; (Relief Web, 2020). These countries have been facing civil conflicts for more than two decades, forcing thousands to flee to Uganda as refugees.
81% of the refugees are women and children, some of these women are widowed by the wars but have families to fend for. The refugees depend on subsistence farming but due to the most recent influx of refugees from the Congo, there is no more land for farming. Most families are forced to entirely depend on the monthly food aid of $8 per head from UNHCR. These families; therefore face many challenges in the new environment; they lack quality medical care, enough food, shelter, and most importantly, means to educate their children.
This livelihood program generally seeks to address the actual needs for refugees through provision of seed funding and skills development in business management, livestock, and agricultural activities. We provide skills training and microfinance to the women to build their homes, feed and send their children to school. Assuredly, refugee families have supplementary income from these activities and can provide meals for their families and support their children in schools.
We have a youth hub for running CIYOTA activities in the Kyangwali refugee settlement. This is also known as COBURWAS New Site, CONES-a farming or agriculture hub. With no land for the refugees to practice subsistence farming-sole means of dependence, we have established a demonstration farm on a plot of over 10 acres of land. We have also introduced organic farming which will be an agribusiness enterprise to establish better farming methods and focus on solving this problem. It will involve applying animal manure to naturally sustain and maintain soil fertility and avoid other long term agronomic problems.
Targets Congolese refugee widows living in Kyangwali with orphans to feed and educate. CIYOTA provides small loans to such women who have projects such as; animal rearing, poultry, farming, small retail shops and those selling food items every market day. 30 widows received the loan since 2017 and 75 children attend school through this program. To reduce challenges such as failing to pay back loans, we built a vocational training center where women will meet more skilled and experienced business people, learn from their past mistakes as well as identify viable businesses in the refugee community.
This is a 6-month’s young women’s program that provides entrepreneurial skills to women who did not have a chance to attend formal education. The project focuses on tailoring where girls learn to sew clothes, bags and any other traditional wear in the refugee community.
The project has 38 women in the program, where 15 women have started their own tailoring businesses.