— UNHCR releases funds for refugee empowerment in Maheba

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UNHCR releases funds for refugee empowerment in Maheba

Solwezi, Sept 27, 2014, ZANIS—The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) has released over K 2.7 million towards empowering refugees at Meheba refugee resettlement camp in Solwezi District.


The commission says to this effect, three non-governmental organizations and one company have been engaged to carry out various empowerment activities aimed at improving the livelihood of people who will move to the identified settlement areas under the integrated resettlement programme.


The funds area towards the improvement of agriculture productivity, employment and household income among the locally integrated former Angolan refugees and their Zambian hosts at the same camp


ZANIS  reports that this is contained in a report presented by the UNHCR Solwezi field office to the just ended North-western Provincial Development Coordinating Committee held at Solwezi lodge in Solwezi.


The report says K 2,128,000 has been allocated to Buildcom Company to construct a 21.2 kilometre road while K 354,323 has been given to World Vision Zambia for education and primary health infrastructure construction.


Other NGOs involved include International Development Enterprises (IDE) which  has been allocated K127,654 to promote access to agriculture and livestock, facilitate access to financial services and promote access to self-employment and businesses and Caritas.


The Czech Republic has K 108,127 for provision of community empowerment and self reliance programmes through vocational training and technical skills.


Under vocational training 38 pupils have already been selected for tertiary sponsorship and inducted in collaboration with Solwezi Trades Training Institute while under agriculture 70 farmers out of the 300 targeted for empowerment this year have already been identified to get starter packs that include farming tools and seed, among others.


For the education and health segment, the citing for the school construction area has already been done and bill of quantity (BOQ) and tender documents already submitted while the BOQ for the health centre is being worked on.


The UNHCR and government partners based in Meheba also engaged Chiefs Matebo and Mumena communities to identify and appraise projects under advocacy in the refugee affected areas programme and four projects have been approved pending finalization of agreement between UNHCR and implementers.


The approved projects include construction of a women centre at the cost of K 260,000, construction of a one by three classroom block at K 248,000 and an integrated fish-farming project at K 51,000 in chief Mumena’s area while sinking of a borehole has been approved at the cost of K 40,000 in chief Matebo’s chiefdom.


Recently, Deputy UNHCR chief , Alexander Aleinikoff, who is based in Geneva, visited Meheba and toured the integrated resettlement designated area to appreciate what is on the ground pertaining to the integrated resettlement programme.


During his visit, 231 passports and 64 letters of occupancy were presented to some of the former Angolan refugees that have been locally integrated in the designated resettlement area.