On 16-17 April 2019, UNCEF East and Southern Africa Office (ESARO), UNHCR Regional Coordination Offices (RRCs) for the South Sudan and Burundi situations and UNHCR Regional Support Centre (RSC), organized a workshop with senior representatives from UNHCR and UNICEF from Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda, Uganda, Tanzania and Zambia country offices, and Headquarters with the following objectives:
- To share good practices and identify joint priorities to operationalize the GCR and reinforce the application of the CRRF in the East and Southern Africa Region
To identify ways to enhance collaboration between UNICEF and UNHCR in the context of implementing the GCR
To explore opportunities to work together in advocating with governments, and in mobilizing resources for comprehensive responses and refugee inclusion The report provides a summary of the main issues discussed and recommendations. The recommendations that concern both Agencies, have been further summarized below.
Refugee children are at the core of the CRRF and GCR agendas Children have great potential to open avenues for effective advocacy towards refugee inclusion in national systems. Children are at the center of the agenda not only because of numbers -with close to 60 per cent of the refugees of the region being children, or because of the length of the displacement – which last often the equivalent of a childhood. They are because failure to invest in children and refugee communities undermines the equity and human rights base approach, will prevent the achievement of SDGs, and will avoid millions of children attaining their full potential.
Yielding results for children
The application of CRRF has already yielded tangible results for refugee and host children. This has been possible, among others, by the fact that all governments CRRF pledges and related roadmaps have prioritized sectors concerning children, including health and nutrition, education, child protection and WASH. Some of the areas where progress has been made are:
i. Inclusion of refugee children in national education and health systems. For example, 86% of refugee children in Rwanda are integrated in the national education system. Uganda costed Education Response Plan is set to include 277,293 refugee children by 2021 in the national education system.
ii. Accreditation of health and education facilities for refugees as national institutions so that can serve to refugees and host alike. For example, 72% of permanent health facilities in refugee settlements in Uganda have been nationally accredited. In Kenya, registration of schools in refugee areas as public learning institutions and allocation of Government officials is in progress.
iii. Investments in WASH infrastructure that benefit both refugees and host communities and that use national utility models, like the Itang Water scheme in Ethiopia that benefits 230,000 people from both host and refugee communities.
iv. Strengthening child protection and social welfare systems in refugee hosting areas, especially in Tanzania, Ethiopia and Uganda. Given that national child protection and case management systems are very incipient in these countries, both Agencies are supporting increased allocation of government social workers and building their capacities in these areas in an integrated manner.