CARE Uganda Annual Report Fiscal Years 2016 and 2017
Once again it is my pleasure to welcome you to CARE International Annual Report combining Fiscal Years 2016 and 2017 . It has been an exceptionally challenging but equally rewarding two years where our humanitarian mandate took over our long term development work as Uganda saw hundreds of thousands of refugees from South Sudan cross the border in search of refuge and protection. Our existing program in West Nile was not prepared to face such a large number of people in need. The rest of the international community was equally ill prepared and yet, looking back, we can all be proud of Uganda’s response and I am certainly proud of CARE’s contribution. We managed to scale up our response rapidly in critical areas of protection, Gender Based Violence and Sexual and Reproductive Health. Yet, every time I have been to West Nile and heard women and girls recount their stories, I felt sad, angry and frustrated that we could not do more.
Despite Uganda’s progressive refugee and asylum seekers’ policy, the refugee crisis remained largely underfunded during 2016 and 2017. Various assessments and studies conducted by CARE showed how our collective incapacity to meet the basic needs of refugee women and girls left them with no other choice than selling their bodies and giving sexual favors in exchange for a bag of flour, beans or pads to manage their period. What type of social justice is this after having been through the indelible physical and mental torture inflicted through war, sexual violence and rape inside South Sudan? Yet, seeing the impact of our programs has kept our amazing team going. We sought comfort and energy in the smiles of the girls, women, families and communities we reached, even if we knew that many more were in need. We redoubled our humanitarian advocacy efforts to influence donors inside and outside Uganda. We learnt to listen more and better to what women and girls have to tell us. We influenced sectoral strategies to be more gender responsive and sensitized and trained other actors in the importance of addressing Gender in Emergencies and in protecting refugees from Sexual Exploitation and Abuse.