Friday, June 3rd, 2022 | By

National Association of Professional Environmentalists (NAPE) has been hailed for creating mechanisms to solve conflicts between refugees and host communities in Kyangwali refugee resettlement camp in Kikuube district.

Jolly Kebirungi, the Refugee Desk Officer that coordinates Kyangwali and Kiryadongo refugee camps with the district officers, says the influx of refugees has continuously put pressure on existing natural resources and services, sparking conflicts between the refugees and the host communities.

“The refugees have increased from 35,000 in 2017 to over 350,000 currently and when they come they are integrated in the host communities leading to competition over resources like land, water and firewood and services like health services,” says Kebirugi.

Kebirungi, however, notes that the formation of Local Peace Committees and building the capacity of its members has played a big role in bringing both the host communities and refugees to solve conflicts through dialogue and mediation.

“When they sit together, the host communities appreciate that the refugees need to be accommodated and the issues are mediated; not only with the host communities but also conflict arising from the refugees himself,”Kebirugi said.

She also appreciated the involvement of women in peace building since they are the most affected by the conflicts.

“Women involvement in peace building is helping to build women’s confidence in mediating and also reporting the cases,” she added.

Nelson Atich, the Bugambe sub county speaker in Kikuube district also noted that the Local Peace Committee in Rwamutonga has helped communities report the cases at no cost.

“When one reports a case at the LC1, they charge you some fee for committee members and it’s always bribery at play. So many people end up abandoning cases due to lack of money. However, with the LPC, people are getting their cases resolved at no cost,” Atich says.

The local area leader for Kijayo village that hosts Kijayo IDP, Edward Tumusiime, says the LPC has engaged Hoima Sugar company leaders in dialogue over pollution of water and poor roads and they are positively responding to their challenges.