This year (2014) alone, it is estimated that over 150,000 South Sudanese refugees will flood south into northwestern Uganda (the area around Arua). This is the result of the fierce tribal and ethnic warfare going on in South Sudan. Analyses of arrival profiles show that women and children continue to represent the vast majority of the new arrivals.
Most the new refugees are being settled in areas northeast of Arua. In most cases, they are being somewhat integrated with Ugandans already living in the area. According to a recent United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR) report:
In order to ensure peaceful co-existence between the new arrivals and the host communities, basic services that are provided to refugees, such as health, water, sanitation, schools, are also made available to communities surrounding the refugee camps.
The UN is responsible for providing financial, health, and other support to the refugees, while the Uganda government is providing camp and community security.
An example of the integration of locals and refugees is found in the schools. Robert Kagabo, a graduate student at the University of Utah who is studying the Rhino Refugee Camp, notes that at one school (Quiver Primary and Secondary) there are 385 refugees and 88 non-refugees attending. While the boy/girl ratio for the non-refugees is about 50/50, for the refugees it is closer to 90/10. There is a serious problem with under enrollment of girls.
The refugee schools have all the problems typically associated with education in developing countries: lack of electricity, little in the way of sporting and playground equipment, paucity of school supplies and equipment, and poor teacher salaries. Two areas where NGOs that I work with should be able to help are with recreational equipment and solar lighting. In January, a colleague and I hope to get to Quiver school and help install a large swing set and a volley court, provide soccer- and volleyballs, and assist with the installation of solar lighting. While at the school, we also hope to see what can be done to encourage more girls to attend school.
If you would like to contribute to our project involving playground equipment (swing sets in particular), you can click here.