February 1, 2024 – The Kiryandongo Refugee Settlement, located in Bweyale, mid-West Uganda, is a government-designated area for resettling refugees, providing shelter, arable plots, and assistance to over 80,000 individuals. Over 98% of the refugees in Kiryandongo come from South Sudan, with the rest originating from countries like Sudan, DRC or Kenya (source: UNHCR).The Office of the Prime Minister (OPM) oversees the settlement, while the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHCR) manages its humanitarian aspects.

The settlement houses a vulnerable population, with 82% being women, many of them single mothers, and children, struggling to secure enough food for a single daily meal. Challenges faced by the refugee community also include high child mortality rates (approximately 50%), Gender-Based Violence (GBV), and youth unemployment. 

WPDI has been actively involved in the settlement since 2017, notably through a Community Learning Center that has become a vibrant hub in the area, and where WPDI runs specialized, targeted peacebuilding initiatives for camp residents, especially young people. Recognizing the positive impact of our programs on the entire settlement and its surroundings, WPDI has been designated by the settlement authorities as the lead organization for peacebuilding initiatives.

At the settlement, where echoes of instability and conflict linger, the call for education advocacy emerges as a beacon of hope. In a country where many areas are marked by tensions and insecurity, promoting quality education in this unique setting becomes a catalyst for fostering a culture of peace. In this light,  running advocacy campaigns for education at Kiryandongo can make a significant difference, offering a transformative pathway for individuals to overcome the scars of the past and collectively build a more harmonious future. 

In November 2023, WPDI ran a targeted advocacy campaign at the settlement, reaching over 1,500 individuals. The campaign involved meetings conducted in schools which brought together students, parents, teachers, and school management committees. The idea was to break the silence on factors affecting education and amplify the voices of the voiceless to demand better educational services and improve enrolment numbers of students in schools.

Participants outlined how these meetings serve as a beacon of hope for people who have long suffered from insatiable social environments, and as a reminder of the importance of education in our common quest for sustainable peace. “The advocacy campaign meeting has given students hope for the future because our voices have been heard and actions are directed toward improving education services in Kiryandongo refugee settlement,” explained Allen Doreen Assumpta, Community development Officer from Bweyale Town Council, Kiryandongo District.

The ripple effect of quality education extends beyond individual lives as it influences the collective mindset. By instilling values of tolerance, empathy, and cooperation, educational campaigns in schools at the settlement contribute to the emergence of a culture that rejects violence and embraces the principles of peace. In a settlement home to individuals scarred by conflict in their home countries, nurturing such a culture is indispensable for breaking the cycle of instability and sowing the seeds of a more secure and prosperous future.

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