Female Urban Refugee Project
IST has also been able to appreciate and design interventions for refugee market women and vendors who by nature of their refugee status presents them more challenges compared to their Uganda counterparts. The women refugees face numerous challenges which include language barrier, lack of assets and inability to secure credit, psychological challenges, poor housing conditions and very little incomes from their informal businesses. Poverty and the lack of livelihood opportunities within refugee households and compounds the already high level of vulnerability of the refugee women and their families to risks of exploitation, resulting in the emergence of negative coping strategies such as child marriage and transactional sex to meet basic needs for household survival.
We therefore provide integrated business and financial skills to these women including capitalization of their locally formed and owned Village, Savings and Loan Associations with cash grants. We have also trained the women in transformational leadership and GBV so that they are free from all forms of violence, own and manage small, medium and large businesses. The project has so far benefited over 500 female urban refugees whose capital has been enhanced and have been supported to formalize their enterprises.
Refugee and host community women and girls living in and around Kampala face on-going and complex GBV and protection risks in those settings due to a combination of factors, including poverty and limited livelihood opportunities, poor access to basic services and harmful socio-cultural norms.
Many women and girls are subjected to sexual violence because the slum areas where they live are GBV hot spots, or risk locations like, unlit dark streets, informal unregulated markets, in the marketplaces, at bars and/or on the way to school. This therefore calls for continued interventions to address the plight of the women.