COMPASS project across borders for livelihoods and peace-building
(LWI) - For South Sudanese refugees in Northern Uganda, a permanent return home is a difficult proposition. In Uganda, humanitarian support is diminishing, and some refugees feel like the land allocated to them is not enough to feed a family. In South Sudan however, the security situation varies from community to community, and many villages have been so destroyed that people need to rebuild everything anew.
LWF has now set up a cross-border project between the two countries, to provide information and bridge return-related insecurities for refugees, returnees, and old and new host communities. The Lives in Dignity Grant Facility project for Cross-border Opportunities for Migration, Peace and Self-Sustenance (COMPASS) works with almost 73,000 people in Eastern Equatoria (South Sudan) and refugee settlements in Northern Uganda. They collaborate on initiatives for peace-building, protection and livelihoods. The project started in July 2022 and will run for three years.
Pockets of peace
The situation in South Sudan remains challenging. A peace agreement was signed in 2018, but implementation is slow. There are still outbreaks of violence. After nearly a decade of conflict, South Sudan continues to grapple with chronic food insecurity and the devastating impact of major flooding. Two thirds of the people in South Sudan do not know where their next meal will come from. The war in Ukraine has increased the already high prices for fuel. “It’s a perfect recipe for disaster,” says Lokiru Yohana, LWF Regional Program Coordinator for Uganda and South Sudan.
At the same time, people return to South Sudan, for different reasons. “There are pockets of peace and stability,” Yohana explains. Apart from wanting to grow their own food and become self-reliant, education and employment opportunities are important priorities for all returning families. “Returning residents with an education and a skill have higher chances of securing employment in South Sudan compared to northern Uganda. This continues to motivate skilled returnees to make the tough decision to return home, even though the conditions for peace are not perfect yet.”