todayNovember 11, 2023

By Godwin Abedican


In a bid to enhance skills among the refugees and host communities in the region of West Nile, the European Union (EU) is under taking an “empowering youth and of refugee and host community status through art” program implemented by the youth groups comprising of both the refugees and host communities.

The program  introduced during this years’ world refugee day on June 20th 2023, was Launched with the aim to provide a platform for young people in the refugee hosting districts in west Nile to express their creativity and innovation through art.

In this program through the youth groups, the European Union gave 3.5 million Ugandan shillings to the groups after  the group members were trained by Joint Energy and Environment Projects (JEEP),  on skills to recycle waste to make money.

Scovia Kiden, a 22 years old senior 2 drop out, Kuku by tribe and a refugee from Allere refugee settlement says the skilling to use art has not only helped to conserve the environment but also changed the lives of many girls making them independent.

 “In this program the European union highly considers the school dropout ladies which to me is a very brilliant idea to help the girls. Personally I am a school dropout and out of this program we are earning money which is helping us both individually and as a group”.

William Ojja Dominic from Agojjo refugee settlement in Adjumani is a member of the “Youth empowerment for a better tomorrow” group that does community awareness about the environment which started in 2021. He says, the program is helping in restoring the environment something that will help to save the generations to come. “When we came in 2016 when the place had a lot of trees but currently all the trees have been cut down which leaves us vulnerable to destructions by wind and even during heavy rains like now, some of our houses are sinking, something that could be averted,” he said.   

In order to motivate the leaners at primary and secondary levels across the settlement, the European Union organized an Art exhibition that was held on Tuesday 7th November 2023 at yumbe district headhunters where 45 learners chosen out of 682 entries of which 216 were girls and 466 were boys got awards as the best performing artist.

Speaking during the awarding of the best performing pupils and students, Drajiga Rasul, the Assistant Chief Administrative Officer for Yumbe district encourages the learners to focus on skills as a way towards self-employment given the shortage of jobs in the country

According to Carlos Roisin, the European Union Trust Fund for Africa representative given the high school dropout rates such interventions can help the youth to focus on education and remain in school.

"Making this more challenging is the fact that of the around 1.5 million refugees hosted in Uganda today, majority are the youth and the children. Given such a background then this activity is not only an Art competition but something that is painting the picture of the journey in the lives of the young people in West Nile, something very remarkable” she echoed. 

After this exhibition, the participants are expected to do exhibitions on the national scene to be organized by the European Union.

COVER PHOTO: One of the winners explains his art work to Carlos Roisin, the European Union Trust Fund for Africa representative By Godwin Abedican

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