The on-going conflicts in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) have caused and continue to cause internal and external displacement of populations, Congolese nationals continue to seek asylum in Uganda (332,506, 26.8% of the total number of refugees, UNHCR figures) https://data2.unhcr.org/en/country/uga Some of them sail on water using canoes through Lake Albert at the border of Uganda and DRC. Care and Assistance for Forced Migrants (CAFOMI) receives these asylum seekers through Lake Albert, at the Kanara reception centre in Ntoroko District.
CAFOMI is a not-for-profit Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO) registered in Uganda, with operations in southwest, central and West Nile regions of the nation. The organisation ensures that forced migrants live a dignified life to acceptable international standards and positively contribute to the development of their host communities. CAFOMI staff at Kanara Reception Centre in Ntoroko District on 4th May 2019 embarked on environmental health/ sanitation advocacy campaign activities, along the border lines on Lake Albert in Ntoroko district.
CAFOMI in conjunction with Kanara Town Council, Medical Teams International (MTI), Uganda People’s Defense Forces (UPDF), Uganda Red Cross Society (URCS), Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA), local authorities and different stakeholders, conducted the campaign to collect and burn garbage, improve water drainage, promote a healthy environment and create awareness. About 200 people were reached with information on good health and proper hygiene practices.
According to our Field Team Leader for the Emergency response program in Ntoroko and Bundibugyo Districts, Anne Mary Atwine, the un decomposing waste along Lake Albert border lines had become the most hazardous pollutants and had constituted a major environmental threat, hence the need to clean up the areas in abide to prevent contamination of water and related disease outbreaks like malaria, dengue fever, liver blindness, bilharzia, cholera and Ebola.
“Local communities pledged to intensify the campaigns on sanitation, improve household hygiene and promote best practices to curb disease outbreak and Ebola control and prevention.” Atwiine said.
CAFOMI has successfully carried out similar environmental health/ sanitation advocacy campaigns in the different Refugee hosting communities in the country which has positively impacted on the human health and enhanced control and prevention of disease out breaks within the refugee hosting communities and beyond.