Refugees are a blessing to us-Obongi residents

todayJanuary 12, 2022

By Kennedy Inyakuni

Local residents in Obongi district have applauded the district for hosting refugees, saying this kind gesture comes with numerous benefits despite the meager resource envelope to cater for the increasing demands of the refugees and host populations.

According to the locals, access to improved services and development infrastructural facilities such as health, schools, safe and clean water among others have greatly improved in the district compared to the situation before the coming of the refugees.
Mr. Data Abdulla the head teacher Obongi town primary school has attributed the successes to peaceful co-existence between the host and refugee communities in obongi district. He said the people in Obongi believe in sharing the little resources with refugee in addition to the land for hosting them.
“Obongi town primary school is one of the facilities that we are benefiting from as we host the refugees. The four classroom blocks, latrine constructions and fencing project under DRDIP are as result of this kindness. The infrastructural developments have had great impact in delivering services to the target population specifically improving teaching and learning and the general performance of the school, so we are really excited by our district opening doors to refugees”, he said.

Mr. Esaku Emmanuel the engineering assistant DRDIP project Obongi district says the major purpose of the interventions under DRDIP is to improve on the socio-coexistence of the refugees and the host communities through bridging the identified gaps in the two communities.
According to Esaku, the existence of refugees has constrained the available resources due to increased population and demand for resources which has forced government and her development partners to develop interventions to curb the pressure on both the host and refugee communities.
Despite the several interventions by government and development partners, Ouma Charles the obongi district chief administrative officer (CAO) said there is still pressure on available public services, citing the depletion of the environment by the persons of concern that must be addressed urgently by partners.
He however admits that a number of members of the host community in the district feel that refugees are favored due to attachments and benefits given to refugees which has led to some members to register as refugees in their own country.
However Ouma said the interventions under DRDIP which is as a result hosting refugees has led to increase in social services such as classroom blocks, health facilities and access to safe and clean water. According to him DRDIP has contributed for over 70% of the total infrastructure developments in the district.
Some members of the community have said that refugees are assests to the district and entire population because of the interventions which are made to strengthen the relationship between the two communities for peaceful coexistence.

Meanwhile, Hassan Kaps Fungagro, the former Member of Parliament Obongi constituency has appealed to people in the area to be vigilant on issues of corruption saying many people have come up with fake programs to help vulnerable communities.  According to fungagro there is high breed of corruption in the office of the Prime Minister (OPM) targeting refugees and host communities which has been extended to Obongi district.
He remarked that recently the people of Obongi district were left in dilemma when they were ordered to resend back to Kampala the money meant for refugees and host community yet it was originally supposed to be budgeted and used by the communities especially in the procurement of goods and services.

COVER PHOTO: South Sudanese refugess at Rhino settlement Camp By Kennedy Inyakuni

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