FAO launches large-scale resilience assessment across 11 refugee-hosting districts in Uganda

The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) together with the Government of Uganda through the Office of the Prime Minister (OPM) has launched the follow-up to a baseline resilience analysis in refugee-hosting districts. The exercise aims to establish whether and how refugee and host-community households in Northern and South-western Uganda have improved their food security and livelihood resilience since the last RIMA carried out in 2017.

Speaking at the launch in the Arua district, OPM Commissioner for Disaster Preparedness and Refugees, Rose Nakabugo Bwenvu, thanked FAO for its continued support and said: “Many national programmes linked to resilience need the RIMA tool to measure their impact. Knowing if they are working or not lets us establish where to allocate funds to better address challenges such as climate disasters, social cohesion and equal access to natural resources.”

Covering more than 6 000 households across 11 districts, the analysis will examine drivers of and barriers to people’s ability to provide for themselves, the impact of the arrival of refugees on host communities in Uganda, and FAO’s contribution to the Livelihoods and Resilience and Energy and Environment components of the national 2019-2020 Refugee Response Plan. Uganda hosts one of the world’s largest refugee populations: according to the Government and the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR), more than 1.3 million refugees and asylum seekers are currently living in Uganda, mainly from Burundi, the Democratic Republic of Congo and South Sudan. Refugee-hosting districts are among the poorest in the country, with livelihoods mostly dependent on agriculture.

Monitoring the effectiveness of resilience programmes is crucial for providing better-informed solutions to empower vulnerable communities and build their capacity to withstand shocks to their livelihoods. Boosting resilience by strengthening livelihoods is recognized as one of the most powerful means to mitigate – or even prevent – food security crises. With a view to this, tools such as RIMA are used to inform the design, delivery, monitoring and evaluation of humanitarian and development assistance to ultimately reduce needs and improve preparedness, mitigation and response strategies.

Uganda is a unique host country example thanks to its national legal framework for refugees, which promotes self-reliance through development-based approaches. However, the 2017 RIMA showed that achieving this is hampered by factors such as agriculture tending to be of a subsistence rather than commercial nature, and traditional farming methods proving inefficient for increasing production levels. Environmental degradation wrought by climate disasters, a lack of markets to sell to and unequal access to natural resources make it even harder to reach a level of self-reliance. FAO has since used these findings to guide more targeted responses as the situation evolves from one of emergency to development assistance, for example by setting up micro-irrigation schemes for high-value vegetable gardens, establishing tree nurseries and delivering best practices training. Initiatives like these help to meet market demand for more nutritious and diverse food while giving vulnerable farming households a chance to rebuild their livelihoods and support themselves.

The current household assessments were preceded by capacity-building training sessions for local enumerators, which is key in institutionalizing the RIMA to ultimately inform national decision making and policy formulation. Bolstering resilience programmes to address food insecurity then becomes a country-led effort, by raising awareness among stakeholders and turning analysis into action.

This RIMA exercise is co-funded by FAO through the United Nations Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF), the European Union’s Global Network Against Food Crises, and the Government of Sweden through the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA). Under FAO’s technical lead, the tool has been adopted as the primary analysis tool by the Government’s Resilience Measurement Unit (RMU) based at OPM, used in collaboration with partners such as the Uganda Bureau of Statics (UBOS), the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) Drought Disaster Resilience and Sustainability Initiative (IDDRSI) focal point in Uganda, and the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR).

Source : Fao