- Both the South Sudan refugees and host communities usually queue at the boreholes and water for long hours. Some result into fights
- The move to provide water is to eliminate the expensive water trucking. Some of the trucks get stuck whenever it rains
- After the fund is raised, a committee will sit to discuss the best water system that will be installed
- CEFORD, OXFAM, Care Uganda, Stanbic Bank, Rural Initiative for Community Empowerment (RICE) West Nile, Caritas, West Nile Web, KFM/Daily Monitor, NBS Tv, West Nile Press Association, Vendor Microfinance, Vision Group, Radio Pacis, among other organisations participated in event
Arua-Over 200 participants from various refugee agencies, religious, media, government and political leaders have for the past two days teamed up to Run for Refugees to mobilize funds for provision of water in settlement areas.
And now HAI Agency together with NGOs and banking institutions have organized Run for Refugees, which proceeds will be used to provide water in the camps and host communities. The preparations started about two months ago after it was realized that water, that is essential for both human beings and the animals were scarce in the refugee camps.
West Nile region has been hosting South Sudan refugees right from the time of Anyanya War that took place from 1955-1972 and they mainly sought refuge in Moyo. But they returned to their country. Since 2016, there has been huge influx of the refugees from the recent war that broke up, forcing them to flee again back to Uganda, hence stifling the scarce resources like water, land in the host districts.
The participants engaging in exercise at Arua Hill grounds after the Run. Photo by Felix
The Refugee Run Event kicked off on Friday with a Corporate Dinner that attracted about 200 people. The Dinner had the participants from the Banking, private sector, district officials, the media team and the Non-governmental organisations providing services in the various refugee camps in the district.
The Organising Committee Official from Hai Agency, Charles Opolot, said on Sunday during the Refugee Run at Arua Hill grounds that: “Both the host communities and refugees need adequate water because during dry season people spend hours at the water points. We hope that the money collected from the Run will be used to provide adequate water which will also eliminate cases of violence.”
One of the photos that were auctioned during the Dinner. Photo by Felix.
During the dinner, Gospel Artists from the settlement camp supported by CEFORD performed at the event. The performances also include a song from a student of Arua Public Secondary school and Lingala crew based in Arua town. Three photos were also auctioned as a way of mobilizing the funds. The participants chose to run for 10 kilometers, five and three kilometers. After the Run with a starting and end point at Arua Hill Grounds, the participants were engaged in exercises and they had fun.
Various NGOs exhibited their activities at the stalls which they erected. This also created market for their products. “We had over 97 per cent of turn up for both events. And we hope that the money raised in Arua and the one that will be raised in Kampala will be used to better the lives of the refugees and the host communities,” Opolot added.
A participant from Pentecostal Assemblies of God donating part of the contribution of Shs 500,000 to Charles Opolot of HAI Agency, the lead organiser of the Refugee Run. Photo by Felix.
Emergence Response Manager for OXFAM, Mr Joseph Okuda, said: “In Ofua III and Bidi bidi Zone 5, people still make long queues for water. They spend over three hours waiting for water. We want to eliminate water trucking because it is expensive and inefficient. If we can have solar powered provision of water, this will save both the refugees and host communities.”
Several Companies have been engaged in provision of water but through a hectic way of trucking. Some agencies are now settling up solar powered water systems to supply the water, which is cost effective. Response to refugee crisis is always difficult and the donors are not getting the required money to offer humanitarian assistance from the global community.
The South Sudan refugees fled their country after a protracted war following political disagreements between President Salva Kiir and Dr Riek Machar, something which has turned tribal. Several parts of South Sudan have remained largely volatile. In some areas, the refugees fled due to hunger, political persecution and tribal conflicts.