By Bazio Doreen.

The relationship between refugees and host communities is always complicated, and usually becomes worsened when livestock is involved. Though tensions and conflict are unavoidable and it might be challenging to achieve a new balance in really challenging circumstances, they can be lessened with thoughtful agreements and concessions.

Indeed, Development Response to Displacement Impacts Project (DRDIP), has made a positive contribution under its component three through livelihood support program. Tamana Goat Fattening group in Adropi Sub County with only shs 18,500,000/= has been able to make ‘gold’ and be Adjumani district’s role model group in goat rearing. Started in 2021, the group has 15 members and at the time of the interview had 30 goats in the farm.

Edema Dominic, 50, the Chairperson of the group, says that rearing the goats has helped him leant about veterinary services and now he only calls the Veterinary Doctor during emergencies. Dominic reveals that each goat costs between shs 130,000/= and shs 200,000/=.

Dominic also says that with a weekly saving of between shs 5,000/= to 6,000/=, the group was able to save shs 2.5 million in 2021 and shs 4.5 million in 2022. These funds are usually distributed to beneficiaries 12th December and this year they hope to get more than what they got last year. Part of these funds are also sometimes given out as loans and support to members who are in need.

“Before, we used to stand in long queues at the bank waiting for our requests for loan to be accepted but now that is no more. The group is able to give us loans and with even low interest rate. You don’t have sleepless nights worrying about the loan,” Dominic observes.

Another member, Letio Sarah, has been able to buy a bicycle from her savings of between shs 40,000/= to shs 50,000/= that she earns daily from a small roadside business. She also uses the money to pay school fees and medical bills. Although she received only 4 goats, she currently has doubled it to 8.

“I have leant that being in a group is a source of both moral and financial support. There was a time I had a sick child and needed some emergency money. The group was my nearest savior,” Letio narrates.

On his part, Lumumba Patrick, another member, has used his income from the goats to establish 1 acre of cassava.

“I hope to make some good money from the cassava. It is unfortunate that it took me a long time to make this decision,” Lumumba narrates.

Livestock are commonly kept in many refugee situations and, in many instances, form an important part of community activities. They are also a fundamental requirement in many returnee situations given the broad range of products which they can provide. 

DRDIP is a Government Project under the Office of the Prime Minister that provides development and direct income support to vulnerable nationals and refugees within refugee hosting districts in Uganda. The Development Objective of DRDIP is to improve access to basic social services, expand economic opportunities and enhance environmental management in refugee hosting districts.