European Union Trust Fund (EUTF) - Support Programme for Refugee settlements in Northern Uganda (SPRS-NU) Livelihood and Labor Market Relevant Skills Development for Refugees & Host Communities

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Instant skills training to maintain water and Sanitation installation in refugee settlement

  •  Instant skills training to maintain water and Sanitation installation in refugee settlement

As Uganda maintains open borders to South Sudanese refugees, unprecedented mass influx continues to place enormous strain on the country’s public services and local infrastructure.

Six (6) months after the South Sudan civil war broke out in July 2016, more than quarter of a million refugees had filled a formerly forested area, making Bidi-Bidi the world’s 2nd largest refugee settlement in the world.

This kind of migration requires enormous logistical operation towards the basic services such as access to safe, reliable and affordable drinking water. Water trucking which is one support system in meeting this need remains expensive thus creation of other sustainable means.

Hand water pumps commonly known as bore holes, are a source of clean water that is put in place to serve a growing number of the refugees and host community with daily water supply. Yet with low maintenance and repairs, the rate at which the water is pumped keeps diminishing and causing the pumps to break down.

“Two months ago, the bore hole of our village broke down and it took more than one day to repair it. By the time water was delivered by trucks, sanitation of the village was becoming unbearable. I remember watching the men repairing the borehole hoping to learn from them so that I can help the next time, but it was difficult. Now I have the skills to repair the bore hole, I will rescue the community”, says Fraser Lomeling from Bidi-Bidi.

The Refugee Welfare Council (RWC) leader of village 6 in zone 2 noticed Fraser’s enthusiasm and recommended him for the “hand pump mechanics” pilot instant skills training organised by BTC. Fraser says in excitement “This is the best training. With the skills I have gained, I will maintain the bore hole in my village and there will be immediate response in case of breakdown” With the instant skills training voucher scheme, BTC aims to improve quality of labour force and support the self-reliance of refugees and host communities by providing them with the skills to foresee in the delivery of basic services. 
Paulo and Fraser are among the 15 youth that underwent the pilot instant skills training in hand pump mechanics at Lokopio Vocational Institute in Bidi-Bidi refugee settlement.

The 10-day training organised by the Belgian Development Agency (BTC) will empower these youths to maintain and repair the hand water pumps in their respective zones of residence.
This 4-year Support to Skilling Uganda (SSU) project funded by European Union Trust Fund focuses on increasing access to quality labour market relevant skills and entrepreneurship as part of the Support Program for Refugees and host communities in the Northern Uganda (SPRS-NU).   
Like several youths in the camps, Fraser is a head of a household comprised of 5 younger brothers. While Paulo is married with one child but takes care of an extended family; responsibilities such as these without sustainable income leave livelihoods on the brink.

With the on-going civil war in South Sudan and an average arrival of 2,000 refugees daily, the number of unemployed youth such as Fraser and Paulo is evidently increasing.
As a high school drop-out Fraser, plans to use the hand pump mechanic skills gained to earn income to take care of his siblings and also upgrade his studies in mechanics when he returns to South Sudan. Paulo finished his A-level in 2013 and plans to enroll for a diploma in engineering.

Given the severity of the South Sudan humanitarian crisis, the EUTF’s SPRS-NU interventions such as instant, qualitative, tailor made and innovative skills development responding to identified skills gap, will improve livelihoods through income generation of over 4,000 youth, women and girls within the refugee and host community.

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