UNDP's representative Almaz Gebru and Ms. Jun Young Suk representing KOICA

United Nations development program (UNDP) and Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA) have signed a $9m (about Shs 33 billion) project for social-economic empowerment of refugees and host communities in Acholi, West Nile regions.

Currently, Uganda is hosting over 1.4 asylum-seekers fleeing over political tensions in the neighboring countries of Somalia, Rwanda, Burundi, South Sudan, Democratic republic of Conga among other countries.

KOICA contributed $7m while UNDP is co-funding with $2m to facilitate the implementation of the project where the prevention of gender-based violence (GBV) will be emphasized.

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KOICA is a government agency that was formed to maximize the effectiveness of South Korea’s grant aid programs for developing countries by implementing the government’s grant aid and technical cooperation programs.

Speaking at the signing, UNDP resident representative Ms Almaz Gebru, said refugee hosting is a development issue that requires development solutions. “Through the multi-stakeholder, Refugee and Host Population Empowerment (ReHoPE) strategy, UNDP supports the Settlements Transformative Agenda,” she added

The Project will improve the economic empowerment of women and youth in refugee-hosting communities in Adjumani, Lamwo and Moyo districts.

“Uganda’s progressive refugee hosting approach has been described as a global best practice. Uganda opens her doors for refugees and makes them comfortable, finding home away from home,” Said Ms Gebru.

She said the project will implement schemes of emergency employment, vocational training, value chain development, structured mobilization and messaging to address the root causes of gender inequality and violence.

According to Ms. Jun Young Suk, an official representing KOICA said, the project will unlock the economic capacities of women in refugee and host communities through livelihood opportunities and gender transformative programming.

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