A public record of the experiences and knowledge of the diverse communities of Obongi & Rwamwanja developed & curated with said communities.
What problem does the idea help to solve and how does your solution work? (2,000 characters maximum)
Uganda's open door refugee policy is lauded globally for its progressiveness, as refugees enjoy freedoms and dignity unheard of in other nations. This is possible because of host communities such as those in Obongi and Rwamwanja that share their resources such as land with refugee communities. However as the refugee population continues to grow; as a consequence of instability in the Democratic Republic of Congo,DRC and South Sudan, there is increasing strain on the limited resources of host communities engendering hostility and raising tensions between refugees and their hosts. Fueling the discontent further is the sentiment among host communities that their generosity and hospitality is taken for granted. These tensions are a threat to the social cohesion rooted in the shared heritage of host communities. In Rwamwanja settlement, Kamwenge, the host communities are tolerant of refugees from DRC as long as they benefit from the sporadic interventions of relief agencies; in the form of new water sources, roads, schools and health centers. Here too, social cohesion is fragile. In this context it is necessary to recognize the host communities of Obongi and Rwamwanja as partners in the refugee response and to strengthen their capacities to foster peaceful coexistence. To this end, Kama KaWida will work with school going adolescents in the settlements of Obongi and Rwamwanja to develop a public record of the experiences and knowledge of their communities. Adolescents will be equipped to produce multimedia content that will illuminate what it means to be and to host refugees. This will be broadcast on radio and be available online in English as well as in common community languages. The content creation process will be in collaboration with the community at large to ensure it reflects the wisdom of the community. Such a living public account of the refugee response authored with the refugees and the host communities is a resource for enhancing the refugee management.
Geography of focus (500 characters)
The refugee settlement in Obongi is in the West Nile region of Uganda on the Northern border with South Sudan. The refugees are fleeing instability in South Sudan and their shared heritage with the host community is an asset specifically the common language and a history of the people of Obongi seeking refuge in South Sudan. Rwamwanja refugee settlement in Kamwenge district in Western Uganda, is home to refugees mainly from DRC and has been, from as far back as the 1950s which can be a model.
Building Bridges: What bridge does your idea build between people on the move and neighbors towards a shared future of stability and promise? (500 characters)
The intervention fosters dialogues between the refugees and their hosts at a time where social cohesion is under threat. The content creation process will require engagement and interaction with members of both host and refugee communities the result of which will be an appreciation of the contribution of the host communities and a public record of the wisdom of two diverse communities developed and curated by the same communities. A testimony of what is possible when communities come together.
What human need is your idea solving for? (1,000 characters)
The need to be appreciated for the host communities and the need to be accepted for the refugees. As the young people work together to produce the media content they will have fun and learn production skills together. Additionally these young people will learn to appreciate divergent views and debate conflicting views while dignifying one another. They will also be ennobled by their added prominence and visibility in the media. The youths will also be exposed to community leaders and decision makers with ample opportunity to advocate for their communities. Community members will be invited to contribute interviews, songs, oral memoirs, proverbs, poetry, literature and will be recognized and dignified for their contributions. Feedback from the community members will influence content creation signalling to the communities that their voices matter, affirming their agency and renew hope.
What will be different within the community of focus as a result of implementing your idea? (1,000 characters)
A public body of knowledge sourced from and curated by the diverse communities of Obongi and Rwamwanja is a product of community collaboration despite rising tensions and the threat of hostilities between refugees and host communities. This collaboration will serve to publicly recognize the altruism of the host communities whose discontent stems from the understanding that their contribution to the refugee response has been taken for granted. Kama KaWida activities will normalize the inclusion of host communities and refugees in public discussions about the refugee response in Uganda; in so doing demonstrating the capacities of these diverse communities as partners. Kama KaWida's success will be gauged by; the willingness of the target communities to contribute content to the project, community participation in public discussions that inform the content creation process and how the youths on the production team deploy their newly acquired skills in service to their communities.
What is the inspiration behind your idea? (1,000 characters)
Initially refugees were welcomed like distant relatives by host communities, for example in Obongi they spoke a common language and they shared meals and were assimilated. However the influx of refugees has placed increasing demands on the host communities whose resources are limited. As a consequence there is rising tension between refugees and their hosts, two equally vulnerable communities. Yet resources exist within these communities to address the common problems they face and Kama kaWida seeks to demonstrate this. Kama KaWida is an example of diverse communities looking within and drawing on existing resources for solutions to the problems of the day.Host communities discontented that their contributions go unrecognized, have the opportunity to recognize their own without waiting for affirmation from outside their communities. Youth from these diverse communities generally lack vocational training and can acquire media production skills implementing Kama kaWida.
Describe the dynamics of the community in which the idea is to be implemented. (1,000 characters)
Refugees and host communities in Obongi and Rwamwanja live side by side, use the same water sources, go to the same schools, hospitals, till the same land, go to the same churches, go to the same markets. These public spaces are also sites where rising tensions are evident. The host community in Obongi donated the land on which the settlement is situated whereas Rwamwanja sits on gazetted government land. The youth from both communities face the same challenges, early marriage, poor learning outcomes, limited vocational skills and limited opportunities. In Obongi the host community were once refugees in South Sudan during the unrest that gripped Uganda in the 70s & 80s and readily recall how well they were treated. Rwamwanja settlement is home to refugees from DRC and Burundi. The populations in both target communities are primarily youthful with the majority below the age of thirty. In response to the refugee influx community schools and medical facilities have been provided.
How does your idea leverage and empower community strengths and assets to help create an environment for success? (1,000 characters)
The community in Obongi has a shared history and heritage, in fact the host community in Uganda sought refuge in South Sudan; during upheavals in Uganda, where they were hosted in settlements among their South Sudanese relations. Ugandans were free to move, go to school and were generally treated with dignity and this experience informed their response to the recent influx of refugees from South Sudan. In their view Notably the Madi-Kakwa tribal identity is shared among South Sudanese refugees and their Ugandan hosts which facilitates relations. Swahili is spoken widely in Rwamwanja, which makes communication easy. The refugee communities are organized and have recognized leaders also local governments are functioning and oversee refugees and their host alike. Schools in Obongi and Rwamwanja are diverse drawing students from both the host and refugee communities as mandated by national policy. Dispute settlement mechanisms exist overseen by the government and UNHCR.
What other partners or stakeholders will work alongside you in implementing the idea, if any? (1,000 characters)
The Office of the Prime Minister of Uganda (OPM) is responsible for refugee management and therefore is a key ally whose permission is necessary in order to gain access to the settlements. No formal partnership currently exists between OPM and Wizarts Foundation. The local governments that serve Obongi and Rwamwanja are key allies because their budgets support refugee communities often at the expense of developing host communities. This opportunity cost of the refugee response is not appreciated and is a potential conflict trigger and therefore bears public scrutiny. No formal partnership currently exists between the local governments and Wizarts Foundation. The radio stations TBS Moyo and KRC are key broadcast partners, who will ensure Kama kaWida media content is broadcast. Wizarts Foundation has an existing formal partnership with these stations. Also new partnerships with schools & community structures like village health teams and church groups which reflect diversity are key.
What part of the displacement journey is your solution addressing
Arriving and settling at a destination community
Tell us how you'd describe the type of innovation you are proposing
Platform: Creating a community or market that facilitates interaction between users and resources
Idea Proposal Stage
Blueprint: We are exploring the idea and gathering the inspiration and information we need to test it with real users.
Group or Organization Name
Tell us more about your group or organization [or lived experience as a displaced person?] (1000 characters)
Wizarts Foundation is a media NGO whose vision is to transform the media to impact society. Content produced by Wizarts Foundation is broadcast across Uganda by at least 50 radio stations and 1 national TV broadcaster, in 5 local languages as well as English and a variety of formats including, radio magazine, talk show and skits. Wizarts Foundation also provides media training to practicing journalists and adolescent school girls at risk of dropping out of school. To this end Wizarts seeks to diversify the media by granting media access to communities not visible or audible in the media and Kama kaWida is a continuation of this. Wizarts' recent experience producing media content with adolescent school girls for broadcast is an asset. As is Wizarts' formal partnerships with TBS Moyo and KRC radio station; coupled with the capacity to produce multi media content in local languages spoken by the target communities. Wizarts' toll free SMS feedback platform allows listener engagement.
Type of submitter
We are a registered Non-Profit Organization
Organization Headquarters: Country
Organization Headquarters: City / State