The World Refugee D-day held on 27th June 2018, celebrations were officially flagged off by the Government of Uganda, represented by the Commissioner of Refugees, Office of the Prime Minister (OPM). The Pre-activities and Main Commemoration Day events. The IAU team used this opportunity to engage with other Humanitarian actors in the sector in a bid to deepen focus and coordination for improved service delivery to refugees, especially the Urban Refugees and host communities.
InterAid Uganda joins the rest of the world to celebrate ‘The World Refugee Day’ every year, on the 20th June 2018. The Global level the theme for this year was; ‘‘Stand #With Refugees’. The National level commemoration was held at Nakivale, Isingiro District, to show the world the extra ordinary circumstances refugees have undergone to hold their dreams hopes and families buoyant. For the Urban Refugees the Celebration was organized under the theme ‘‘Uganda Stands #With Refugees’’ with weeklong activities concluded with main event on 27the June 2018, in Kampala to depict the great commitment Uganda has for generously standing with refugees and her promise.
The Chief Guest at the national event held at Nakivaale, was Hon. Minister Hilary Onek, in his message stressed the importance of sustaining tolerance and forbearance by the host community towards refugees, the need to enhance understanding of the refugee lost dreams, situation and hopes, he said this would lead to greater opportunities for integration.
InterAid Uganda in partnership with Office of the Prime Minister (OPM) and United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) concurred on need for tolerance of the host community, towards refugees’ presence in the community, further emphasized community and refugees could be mobilized based sensitization and protection through advocacy campaigns public dialogues, TV and radio talk shows, music festivals, sensitization, coordination meetings with stakeholders. At the weeklong events different partners including local authorities; Local Councils, Chairpersons, KCCA and Police Officers joined the celebrations held at Nakivubo Primary School Play Ground.
The celebrations were braced by; the Commissioner Office of the Prime Minister, Directorate of Refugees, representatives from United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees(UNHCR) implementing partners like; Africa Humanitarian Action(AHA), Africa Imitative for Relief and Development(AIRD),American Refugee Committee(ARC)Dan Church Aid (DCA), Danish Refugee Council (DRC),Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society (HIAS), Humanitarian Initiative Just Relief Aid(HIJSRA),Inter Aid Uganda(IAU),International Rescue Committee(IRC),Lutheran World Federation(LWF),Medical Teams International(MTI),Norwegian Refugee Council(NRC),Uganda Red Cross Society(URS), Windle Trust Uganda(WTU) and World Vision International (WVI) among others.
A total of 20 refugee and host community artists and groups performed different genres of music basing on their cultural backgrounds, skills and training, while Refugee Now Kampala showcased their trending fashion and style pieces that were designed by members of the group. We were also humbled to hear from Refugee Community representatives who expressed concern and gratitude for the hospitality and support rendered to Refugees living in Uganda. “Dr. Akilimali In his remarks, Appreciated the Commissioner for Refugees- OPM, All important dignitaries, who stand with refugees, and expressed his appreciation to the Uganda Government, on their tolerance of refugees to this country Uganda, also for the peace that prevails in Uganda, UNHCR, IAU, and all Humanitarian agencies who have been committed to the cause of refugees in Uganda, he went ahead to make the following request (on behalf of refugees);
In her address Madam. Nadine Ugiriwabo, she had lived in Uganda for over 17 Years, and learnt some local languages including English. She thanked the Government of Uganda, represented by Commissioner OPM, UN Agencies present, and Government Leaders hear and IAU for what they have done and welcomed them to the celebration, expressed her gratitude to the GoU for a place given to refugees to stay, thanked the Commissioner and IAU for taking care of them. She highlighted that when refugees need services they do not face any segregation or discrimination and “Ugandans cannot deny you any service”. She advised the refugees to observe respect, some refugees think you should get everything for free, but rather work and support each other.
As a highlight, the Teams and Individuals presented by Madam Peninah the Community Services Manager, InterAid Uganda, provided outcome of the various activities and the participating teams and individuals were to be recognized by the Guest of Honour in line with their performance
- Football matches; out of a total of eight (8) clubs enrolled, only two qualified for the semifinal match, the teams who enrolled for semifinals were awarded Jerseys and bal, while Bumonde FC turned out the winner of the day, got a trophy cup, and given jerseys and ball.
- Debate in schools; The best debaters were; Kichoncho Isabela who was awarded oxford Dictionary for winner at primary level while best boy was Kibuuka Austa from Nakivubo primary school, he too got an English dictionary as price. Karen Yenga from Old Kampala Primary School was best girl for the debate and Asiimwe for the boys.
- Fashion Models and Talent show; exemplary with vast skill and talent as they worked the participants and the guest of honor congratulated them accordingly on their different talent activities. The models also got certificates for excellence and the youth for their achievement.