The launch event of the “Humanitarian / Development / Peace Nexus in the Refugee Camps and Host Community of Benishangul-Gumuz Regional State (HUDEPE Benishangul-Gumuz)” project was held on Thursday, Feb. 2nd, in Assosa, Ethiopia.
The 1 million euros project, funded by the Italian Agency for Development Cooperation (AICS) in Addis Ababa and implemented by a consortium of Civil State Organizations, led by the International Committee for the Development of Peoples (CISP) in collaboration with Cooperazione e Sviluppo (CESVI), CBM and the local partners Ethiopian Center for Disability and Development (ECDD) and Rehabilitation and Development Organization (RaDO) intervenes in the Bambasi refugee camp.
According to the U.N. refugee agency, UNHCR, Ethiopia is the third largest host country in Africa, with more than 823,000 refugees and asylum seekers mainly from South Sudan, Somalia and Eritrea. Of these, the Benishangul-Gumuz region alone hosts 76,036 refugees, almost all of whom are South Sudanese, concentrated in the three camps of Tsore, Sherkole and Bambasi. It is in Bambasi camp, where more than 20,000 people are currently living, that the new project’s initiatives will focus.
The HUDEPE project will help strengthen the resilience of people in Bambasi camp and surrounding areas and respond to natural and migratory shocks. In fact, South Sudan, the country of origin of these populations, is affected by severe flooding and drought, caused by climate change and worsened by the ongoing conflict since 2013. The initiative, in detail, will strengthen the productive capacities of farmer groups and improve access to sanitation services. Finally, an important aspect of the project will be protection towards women victims of violence and youth with disabilities.
The project launch event was attended by members of the consortium, Refugees and Returnees Service (RRS), the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), local authorities and beneficiaries, who shared interesting insights on the new intervention planned in Bambasi and full cooperation on its future implementation.
The institutions recalled how the intervention, developed in close collaboration with the consortium’s NGO partners, is in line with the strategic objectives of strengthening sustainable development and integration actions directed at refugees and the communities involved through income-generating activities, extensive agriculture and respect for the environment.
“AICS Addis Ababa’s efforts are carried out through emergency response projects in both South Sudan and Ethiopia, as the country of arrival of refugees, where working together with local communities for their integration is key. The HUDEPE project and the work of CISP is an example of this regional approach.” Simone Cerqui, AICS Addis Ababa Emergency Coordinator, explains.