It has been estimated that around sixty percent of the South Sudanese refugees currently hosted in Uganda are children. Uganda is in East Africa, which has a population of roughly 369 million people. Child refugees have faced many challenges as they navigated their journeys from South Sudan to Uganda. Many lost family members and survived the journey alone.
Empowering children and young people
War Child Holland works to empower children and young people to shape their own futures. Essentially, the organisation works towards providing children with new skills. Intended to help them better deal with the adversity that they have faced. Particularly children who have experienced armed conflict.
Creativity is one tool that War Child uses to create activities around, providing children and young people with the opportunity to have fun. In addition, to learning to overcome the challenges that they face. War Child encourages children to express their views, while also being a conflict sensitive organisation.
Improved psychosocial wellbeing
Improved psychosocial wellbeing allows young refugees to better engage in the opportunities that are available to them in Uganda their host country. War Child has been working in Uganda since 2004, supporting children to engage in education despite the stress and trauma that they have experienced. Support is also given to children’s family members or other important adults in their lives. A strategy believed to safeguard the improved well being that children experience from participating in the programs.
In 2018 the WarChild e-learning initiative was expanded into Uganda. Essentially increasing children’s opportunities to access quality education. Based on official national curricula that have been considered in relation to the needs assessments of children in their community. Essentially, children involved in the program learn through interactive learning materials. Can’t Wait To Learn empowers children to learn by playing serious educational games on tablet computers.
Another programme that has been designed to support child refugees in Uganda is the TeamUp programme. Formed through the partnership between War Child Holland, Save the Children, and UNICEF Netherlands. As a result, the programme has been implemented in the Adjumani district of Uganda in 2018. The programme provides children with the opportunity to participate in sport, movement exercises, and structured games.
The Community Development Centre created a Trauma Healing and Reconciliations Project in Refugee camps in Uganda in 2017. Essentially, the aims of this project were to give physiological support to the South Sudanese refugee communities living in the settlements. This particular CDC Project provided a platform for peace building and reconciliation.
Education in refugee settlements in Uganda
Rhino Camp in Uganda hosts a total of 123,243 registered refugees and originally opened in 1980. Consequently, this settlement has since expanded in response to the South Sudanese civil war. Essentially, this was to host an additional influx of refugees that have traveled to northern Uganda. The host community within the area welcomed refugees and worked with the office of the Prime Minister to assist people. Essentially, members of the host community were able to donate or rent land to be used as residential, farming areas within the settlement. In January 2018 a Uganda refugee response monitoring settlement fact sheet on Rhino Camp, suggests that ‘25,500’ (REACH)refugees are attending school.
Research on education in refugee settlements in Uganda
REACH has been conducting research in refugee settlements across Uganda since 2017. Conducting humanitarian needs gap analyses has been part of the research conducted by REACH. These data findings can be used to reveal gaps that exist in relation to the service needs of refugees living in settlements. Also amongst a large amount of data that was gathered was information relating to education. Common themes emerged as issues affecting the quality of education or access to education for refugees. Such as the ‘long distances to schools, a lack of teachers as well as overcrowded classrooms.’ REACH
For this reason, distance was also relevant for students who did not transition from primary school to secondary school. Consequently, research revealed that this was often due to ‘a lack of secondary schools nearby’. REACH In addition to distance, ‘the lack of funding for school fees, and the lack of vocational institutes or alternative types of training to meet the needs and interests of the students’ REACH directly affected attendance.
Humanitarian organisations use research findings to work towards creating solutions to the issues that children and young people face. HTiL has previously shared Education programme in Ugandan Settlement. In addition, to exploring how a number of humanitarian organisations have been working to develop the Uganda Education Response Plan for refugee and host communities. Furthermore, once implemented the plan aims to improve the learning outcomes for refugees and host community children in Uganda.
The MyInform platform
The HumanTech Innovation Lab is a digital humanitarian initiative, proactively and collaboratively at the intersect between humanitarianism and technology. The MyInform platform will represent a core paradigm shift for the displaced, enabling them to be supported and recognised specifically according to their personal context and future aspirations; to be respected as part of the solution to truly global prosperity and security, rather than being seen as a threat to it. The #MyInform pilot partner is the CDC in Uganda with which several new projects and programmes for education and skills training being planned for 2019.
Teaming up to help South Sudanese refugee children overcome the trauma of war