Paper presented to: OPM, UNHCR and other partners at the International Youth Day Celebrations in Bidibidi Refugee Settlement, Yumbe District

Presented by; KRC Youth from Zone 5, Yangani Cluster

Uganda joins the rest of the World to commemorate the International Youth Day which is an annual event celebrated on 12th August with an aim of bringing youth issues to the attention of the international community and to celebrate the potential of youth as active partners in the global society. This year’s theme for the day is about “Youth Innovations for Transformation of Food Systems and Sustainable Human Health.”

Bidibidi Refugee Settlement is privileged to partake in this celebration despite the Corona pandemic fatigue and its associated lockdown which has mostly impacted on the youth both in and out of school, nationals and refugees. Youth in Uganda are the youngest population in the world, with 77% of its population being under 25 years of age.There are 7,310,386 youth from the ages of 15–24 years of age living in Uganda. These youth are positioned, active, and passionate, informed, interconnected and are spread across the country.

This year’s celebrations come at a time when the World is grappling with the deadly Corona Virus pandemic which has affected economies of both first and third world states. Youth have been worst hit and are now handicapped; youth who are bread winners, those who have been in school and those who have been solely dependent to their family members have been undergoing a lot of agony. A recent UNHCR/World Bank phone survey reveals the devastating toll of COVID-19 on the living conditions of refugees in Uganda and highlights the need for strengthened support to refugee communities, to mitigate the suffering inflicted by the pandemic. Uganda hosts the largest refugee population in Africa, with some 1.5 million people mainly from South Sudan and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. By March 2021, the employment rates for these communities had dropped to 32 per cent, falling by 24 percentage points in comparison to pre-lockdown times. In contrast, after an initial drop, the host community’s employment rates were able to return to pre-pandemic levels. The survey put refugees in Uganda at fairing far worse than their host communities on key dimensions to welfare, such as employment, food security and mental health. The plight of the youth has however remained alarming as highlighted below;


We encourage all partners to integrate spatial planning across sectors focusing on zone 5 Yangani Cluster and Zoe 4 Abirimajo which are still underdeveloped across Bidibidi Refugee Camp.

We argue the government to urgently lay strategies of reopening schools so as to curb the ongoing practices of early marriages and child pregnancies

Government should set up a special fund (seed capital) to help youth startup small businesses; also enact some policies that can help refugee youths to benefit on other youth led government programs.

We recommend establishment of fully fledged Youth Skills Development Centres in zone 4 and zone. These should offer skills through a Work Based Learning (WBL) approach with integrated ICT and entrepreneurship training as a means of enhancing life skills amongst refugees and the host communities

We recommend that refugee youth and those from host communities be involved in the current efforts towards eliminating harmful subsidies, and increasing access to beneficial subsidies to small business owners and young entrepreneurs.

We call upon government to take urgent action on food security by initiating small scale sustainable farming for quick growing crops amongst refugees and host communities. This be integrated with wise use of the environment and other natural resources as a means of booting nutrition and incomes at household level

We demand that partners adopt practices that encourage and support their youth population when it comes to protecting and sustaining biodiversity, recognizing the central participation of youth in the local­ community level; Initiatives aimed at protecting mother earth

There is need to invest in massive trauma healing and guided counseling sessions at community and/or household level amongst the refugee communities across board as a means of reducing and managing violent practices that have resulted into suicide.

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