Building Bridges Between Hosts and Refugees

Thursday December 10, 2015

Building Bridges Between Hosts and Refugees

Managing relations between refugees and host communities is a difficult undertaking. Often, the aid granted to displaced people breeds resentment in host communities that though at home, are also impoverished and vulnerable to hunger, disease and extremities of weather. The ill-feeling generated can spark violence between already stressed and traumatised populations. To smooth these differences and encourage harmonious co-existence between these two groups is the aim of an HDC/UNHCR intervention in Maban County - "Support youth through apprenticeship placements and vocational skills".

On the 9th of December 2015, the people of Maban and members of a refugee population of 140,000 refugees from Blue Nile in the Republic of Sudan gathered at Bunj Secondary School to witness the graduation of 300 youths - 132 refugees, 168 Mabanese from a skills training programme. These youth had participated in an activity through which they practised cooperating across the host/refugee divide and gained valuable vocational skills in

i) working with computers - both installation of hardware and working with software
ii) masonry
iii) electrical work - particularly wiring and lighting installations

These courses, rudimentary as they may be, are foundational steps in the construction of a new South Sudan. They are the first building blocks in the development of a viable, durable future in which the welfare of the people of this region is improved, and in which they are more connected to each other and the world. It is hoped that some of the graduates can leverage their new found skills and credentials into jobs in the humanitarian community here; while others set themselves up in a trade, and supply their services across this region. In this way this intervention intends to reduce young people's dependence on relief aid and set their communities on a path to more diversified economies capable of satisfying more than the most basic needs.

As the guests of honour at the event, the UNHCR desk officer for Bunj and the County Commissioner affirmed, it is also hoped that having worked together these brave young graduates will be ambassadors of peace in the camps, helping to bridge the divide between the refugees and their hosts.

2.2 m
persons displaced across South Sudan since December 2013
HDC works in camps to provide food, shelter, livelihoods and protection services
The mission of HDC is to support vulnerable people affected by crises to attain dignified and prosperous lives through impactful community resilience and practical, innovative programs.
HDC is honoured to partner with
DanChurch Aid, CARE South Sudan, CARE Netherlands, Government of The Netherlands
HDC has been an
active national NGO in East Africa for ten-years
– a clear track record of strong commitment to the communities we serve.
Last year HDC
worked with over 30,000 people in need across South Sudan.
is honoured to partner with many organizations,
According to UNICEF, 72%
of children in South Sudan did not have access to school last year.
A girl in South Sudan
is 2X less likely to have access to education than a boy.
Today in South Sudan
less than 1% of girls will complete their education.
of people in South Sudan have access to sanitation facilities
HDC constructs sanitary facilities and conducts advocacy interventions that endorse better hygiene practices
2 million
South Sudanese refugees (UNHCR)
5.1 million people
are facing severe food insecurity today (IPC)
2.4 m
face severe food insecurity due to displacement and adverse climate
HDC supports improved resilience and productivity by distributing seeds, inputs and implements
1.9 million people
are displaced in South Sudan (OCHA)