Uganda hosts 1.5 million refugees from neighbouring South Sudan and Congo. In the refugee-hosting districts of Lamwo and Isingiro, 90% of refugees and 83% of host communities are vulnerable to food insecurity and depend on humanitarian assistance to meet their basic needs (REACH, In-depth Livelihood & Markets Assessment Lamwo & Isingiro, March 2021). The Covid-19 pandemic disproportionately and negatively impacted refugee households where limited income-generating opportunities coupled with continued reductions in food assistance affected the resources needed to meet basic needs (UNHCR Uganda Refugee Population, May 2022). With reductions in food assistance and limited livelihood opportunities, many refugees in Isingiro and Lamwo may experience food insecurity (REACH, Market Monitor – Refugee Hosting Areas, October 2021) in the near term. The scenario is exacerbated when these remote settlement locations are disconnected from commercial hubs where economic activity is far more prevalent.
Studying the commercial routes and creating market linkages between target communities and active inclusive businesses within the region is expected to increase commercial activity and trigger income-generating opportunities for the communities.
The market strengthening component, led by Swisscontact, primarily focuses on generating off-farm economic opportunities in markets that present the highest potential for inclusive growth. The project’s market assessments presented trade, transport solutions and light manufacturing as the main levers for growth. Interventions will be tested in these areas as they pertain to high growth agriculture value chains. Specifically, in the Lamwo region, focus will be on oilseeds, dried beans and apiculture while in the Isingiro region focus will be on dried beans, dairy and horticulture.
The inter-linked components of the project enable the target population which is excluded from the market to access and participate in market-led livelihood opportunities in specific technical areas such as skills development, trade links, access to electricity, financial services and other business services to enable enterprise growth.
The project will provide viable solutions that enable the target participants to transition from dependence on humanitarian assistance to self-reliance.
The project brings together non-profit and for-profit partners who layer integrated push and pull interventions that strengthen value chains with high potential for growth and opportunities locally. The project partners include Save the Children, Grameen Foundation, Mandulis- Energy, Response Innovation Lab, PHB Development and Swisscontact.