Escalating conflict in the northeastern region of the Democratic Republic of Congo led to an influx of refugees crossing the border into Uganda. Over a one-month period, more than 10,000 people, 80% of them women and children, fled the Kivu region. They were escaping attacks against civilians, arbitrary killings, rape, abductions, looting and forced recruitment into armed groups.
Child protection services
Arriving tired, scared, hungry and traumatized, often separated from their families, refugees were greeted by already cramped refugee camps housing close to 1.4 million people, close to two thirds of whom are children. Many children were exposed to extreme violence (or victims themselves) in their communities, and have been exposed to further risk along the route to Uganda as they fled with their families or alone. Now in the camps, children continue to be exposed to risk due to the transient nature of the camp population. These children require safe places to learn and play as well as access to psychosocial support and health services
Increase access to safe, protective, gender responsive psychosocial support services and quality learning environments for boys and girls and help unaccompanied boys and girls reunite with their families.
• Build a child friendly/temporary learning centres, complete with learning materials, in two refugee camps so boys and girls have access to education and psychosocial support.
• Recruit local adults as facilitators for the centres, providing them training on child protection standards, psychosocial support and psychological first aid.
• Train partners and staff on case management processes to ensure quality care and protection for boys and girls.
• Conduct community sessions with refugee families on child protection issues.
• Identify and register separated and unaccompanied children and facilitate family reunification.
Save the Children is the only actor in the area focused on child protection and therefore best situated to respond quickly and effectively to protection needs of Congolese refugees in Uganda. The organization has been involved in on-going response to the refugee influx in Uganda since 2012 with vast experience and specialization in child protection. Save the Children has established programming
presence in a number of the refugee camps, but the recent increase in arrivals has stretched its capacity to respond.