Uganda – Kyaka Refugee Camp
Kyaka II Refugee Settlement is a refugee camp in Kyegegwa District in western Uganda.Kyaka II encompasses 81.5 square kilometers in the three sub counties of Mpara, Kyegegwa and Kabweza in the eponymous Kyaka county. The settlement is divided into nine zones: Sweswe, Buliti, Bukere, Mukondo, Ntababiniga, Kakoni, Bwiriza, Byabakora and Kaborogota.
Kyaka II is managed by the UNHCR and the Ugandan Office of the Prime Minister’s Department of Refugees (OPM).
Kyaka II settlement was established in 2005 to receive the remaining population of Kyaka I following the mass repatriation of Rwandan refugees the same year. After this movement, Kyaka I was closed after 21 years of operations. Renewed violence in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) in mid-December 2017 led to a new refugee influx into Uganda, with an estimated 17,000 new refugee arrivals in Kyaka II.
This brought the settlement’s population to roughly 44,988 as of early March 2018.
Gaps & Challenges
Health services are insufficient to meet the needs of the population. Many health centres in the settlement have a shortage of beds, drugs, and medical personnel. Respondents noted frustrations with the referral system, such as delays in being referred to regional hospitals and lack of follow-ups to ensure that patients have received required medical treatment.
The education sector is under-resourced. Refugees reported inadequate teachers, few classrooms, language barriers between students and teachers, and prohibitive secondary school fees. Kyaka II has only one secondary school, which is not sufficient to serve all school-aged refugees. Additionally, there are no opportunities for the youth to enrol in vocational programs due to lack of training institutions, although a new centre is under construction and planned to open in May 2018. New arrivals noted that there are few pre-primary schools for children to attend, specifically in Byabakora, Mukondo, and Kakoni zones.
Limited access to land and natural resources has the potential to cause tensions among refugees and with host community members.
Protection concerns mainly root from land allocation, as many refugees reported that the land initially given to them by OPM has been reallocated to new arrivals, causing social unrest. Other protection issues include lack of case follow-ups after reporting crimes, and incidences of bribery and corruption while seeking justice. Additionally, access to livelihoods opportunities is limited especially for persons with specific needs and in particular, women and girls. Some members of these vulnerable group may engage in harmful coping mechanisms such as survival sex.
Because of a lack of vocational training centres, many youth refugees need basic knowledge and skills to engage in various livelihood programs, such as carpentry, hairdressing, mechanics, and tailoring. Refugees who are engaged in agriculture mainly practice subsistence farming due to limited land, shortage of agricultural inputs, and an inability to sell produce at competitive prices.
Strengths & Opportunities
Regular coordination meetings bring together all actors and promote cooperation. The weekly meetings engage all stakeholders to collectively discuss issues regarding service delivery within the settlement. Close coordination was critical to managing the recent and ongoing DRC influx.
There is a strong partnership between settlement leadership and Kyegegwa local government. The systematic coordination between UNHCR, OPM, and local government authorities has enhanced service delivery within the settlement and the host community.
The environmental conditions in Kyaka are conducive for agricultural production. Because the soil and climate are suitable for crop cultivation, refugees are able to grow a variety of crops, which have supplemented food distribution programs as well as created livelihoods for some refugee families.
The presence of electricity and established road networks connect the settlement and host community. Extending the national grid to more parts of the settlements and enhancing roads would improve access to markets, security, and service delivery