Community centres to bring new skills and employment opportunities for refugee and host communities in Uganda

The ILO and UNHCR, with support from the Government of Netherlands, have initiated development of six multipurpose community centres which will offer safe spaces and socio-economic services for refugees and host communities.

News | 21 October 2021
Karin Boven, Ambassador of the Netherlands in Uganda, cuts the ribbon to mark the launch of construction for the community centre.
At the ground breaking ceremony marking initiation of construction of the first out of six multipurpose community centres, refugees and host communities at the Rhino settlement in Uganda complimented this timely intervention from the International Labour Organization (ILO) and United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).

Due to the economic slowdown induced by the COVID-19 pandemic, refugees and host communities alike, have witnessed loss of jobs and livelihoods. The uncertainty within job markets is negatively impacting their mental health. As Uganda hosts over 1.5 million refugees, the ILO and UNHCR, under the PROSPECTS programme, stepped forward to provide mental health and psychosocial support services to both the communities by linking them to information on skills and livelihoods.

Out of the six planned centres, three will be developed and operationalized by the ILO and the remaining by UNHCR. These centres will offer direct access to skills and livelihoods opportunities, information on employment opportunities and support appropriate skills transfer during the construction process. Other socio-economic services that will be provided at the centres include training on Information and Communication Technology (ICT) and various sports including football, basketball and netball. Furthermore, the community centres will act as safe spaces for refugees and host communities to receive mental health and psycho-social support services.

This initiative is expected to stimulate the local job markets across refugee and host settlements of Rhino, Imvempi and Nakivale in Uganda, through the Employment and Labour Intensive approaches that will be used in constructing the community centres.

Her Excellency Karin Boven, Ambassador of the Kingdom of the Netherlands to Uganda, graced the ground breaking ceremony held on 30 September 2021. “The centres will build resilience, improve social cohesion and ensure sustainable development of refugee and host communities. I am pleased that we are able to contribute beyond humanitarian response and towards sustainable development of the community,” said Ms Karin Boven.
This programme initiative is in line with the Government of Uganda’s ‘Jobs and Livelihoods Integrated Refugee Plan’ (JLIRP) (Find more information below).

Stephen Opio presenting the architectural drawings of the community centre to provide life skills and other socio-economic services to refugees and host communities in Rhino settlement, Uganda.
Stephen Opio, Chief Technical Advisor of the ILO PROSPECTS programme in Uganda added, “Use of local resources and gender inclusive approach in the development and planning of these centres will ensure its community ownership from the construction stage. As envisioned in the JLIPR, this is an effort towards tapping potential of the refugee communities in the economic development of the communities that host them.”

ILO PROSPECTS‘ contribution to JLIRP

The JLIRP focuses on improving economic opportunities; strengthening market systems, increasing household income, food and nutrition security and agricultural output for in-country and export markets. It aims to implement productive coping strategies in a volatile job market; improve access to vocational and technical education; and enhance social protection for socio-economic inclusion of refugees and host communities. 

The ILO PROSPECTS programme is supporting Government of Uganda to operationalise the JLIRP though its integration into District Development Plans of the 12 refugee hosting districts of Uganda. 

For the host communities affected by the COVID-19 restrictions, the PROSPECTS programme has offered short-term employment and access to social protection through the Urban Cash for Work Programme (UCWP). The programme has reached over 4,200 individuals participating in 52 different labour intensive work projects including an intervention supporting rehabilitation of a community market. The programme is being implemented by the Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development and Arua City administration and technically and financially supported by the ILO.

Read more: “Jobs and Livelihoods Integrated Response Plan for Refugees and Host Communities in Uganda - 2020/2021 - 2024/2025”.


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