By Najib Mulema

Following the Uganda first Refugee Solidarity Summit and in line with Uganda’s Comprehensive Refugee Response Model and Host Population Empowerment strategy, HAI Agency Uganda Limited in collaboration with development partners and support from Ugandan government have championed a national multi-stakeholder humanitarian campaign dubbed ‘Run for Refugees’ (R4R) aimed at rallying countrywide local humanitarian support to complement government and development partner efforts to provide for the needs of refugees and hosting communities.

While launching the initiative on Tuesday at Eureka Place in Ntinda, the State Minister for Relief, Disaster Preparedness and Refugees, Mr. Ecweru Musa Francis said traditionally Uganda has been relying on donors and private sector to facilitate refugees but with the R4R campaign, Ugandans are going to engage directly in supporting the humanitarian action.

He further revealed that as a country, they are not facilitating refugees for publicity but because of their big and caring hearts.

Meanwhile, the Run for Refugees and host communities 2018 will involve two marathons starting with Arua on 20th May for the West Nile humanitarian group and 10th June for Kampala.

There will also be two corporate dinners as well as R4R donations which will provide an opportunity to people living in Uganda and Africa at large to contribute a gift in kind, cash or unused household property for the good cause.

Apparently funds that will be raised through the various humanitarian core actions will supplement humanitarian actors to provide better access to clean drinking water for refugees and hosting communities.

Uganda is currently hosting the highest numbers of refugees in Africa, and the third largest globally. The refugee population is now over 1.4 million, higher than at any time in its history.

Women and girls represent 54% of the total refugee population, while children constitute 60%. This has created a compounded refugee crisis, with critical gaps in food, water, sanitation, education, early childhood services, youth skills, psychotherapy, pitiful recreational conditions among others.