The Japanese government has announced a donation of USD 3 million to support the Government of Zambia and the UN Refugee Agency’s 2013 refugee operations in Zambia.
Japanese Ambassador to Zambia, Akio Egawa announced the donation today in Lusaka ,he said that his government was pleased to be associated with the support to benefit and enhance the quality of life for refugees. Ambassador Egawa said the Japanese Government is greatly concerned by the issue of refugees facing the community today, and thus lends its support to enhance Human Security and continue to search for more effective ways to assist these particularly vulnerable groups.
He commended the Zambian Government for its exemplary hospitality to refugees over the years, especially in seeking durable solutions for them .
He looked forward to the successful utilisation of the funds in the refugee programme in Zambia. The Japanese Ambassador particularly commended the Government of the Republic of Zambia for embracing the local integration of former Angolan refugees.
United Nation High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) Officer-in-Charge in Zambia, Yohondamkoul Sakor, described the Japanese contribution as a clear indication of the Japanese Governments strong interest in the welfare of refugees and the host community in Zambia.
“The contribution and continue support by the Japanese government to durable solutions demonstrates the true spirit of burden-sharing in this humanitarian endeavour,”Sakor said, he added
“We always need funds to implement various programmes, especially now when we have embarked on local integration of former Angolan refugees. We are extremely grateful for this support we get from our donors and in particular for this support from the Government and people of Japan. It is through their support, we are able to achieve our objectives of protecting refugees,” said Sakor. “I wish to assure that we will always do our utmost best to ensure optimum utilisation of these resources for the interest of the refugees and the host population.”
Home Affairs minister, Edgar Lungu, expressed his sincere gratitude to the Japanese government for their generous support toward the refugee programme in Zambia.
“The donation is a clear commitment on the part of the Japanese government to contribute to the efforts of the Zambian government in improving the general living conditions of not only refugees but also the local population in refugee hosting areas,” he said.
Lungu urged other donor countries to emulate the well-meaning gesture demonstrated by the Japanese government by supporting various programmes targeting refugees and the host community to ensure co-existence. He also assured the international community of accountability in the disbursement and use of the funds.
He said the funding will support refugee operations in Zambia covering areas such as basic needs and essential services, which include primary health care, access of children to basic education, access to portable water and establishment of community food processing, conservation and storage techniques.
However Sakor said UNHCR will also use the funds to promote and support self-reliance of refugees, including those who qualify for local integration. Part of the funds will be used to improve livelihood programmes mainly in the sectors of crop production, animal husbandry, sanitation and hygiene and vocational training in the two refugee settlements of Meheba and Mayukwayukwa.
“As the majority of the refugees are women and children, specific attention will go towards issues related to gender, maternal reproductive health, HIV/AIDS and child protection activities,” Sakor said.
He explained that Zambia currently hosts over 50, 000 refugees mainly from Angola, Burundi, Democratic Republic of Congo, Rwanda, and Somalia. The majority of the refugees reside in the two settlements, while the rest are in urban areas or self-settled.