As part of its efforts to support the refugees and host communities in the Gambella Region of Ethiopia, IOM organized a training this week (15/03) for South Sudanese refugees on the impacts of deforestation and the need to replenish vegetation.
As part of the Government of Japan-supported Shelter and Livelihood project for the region, the training was provided to 150 households.
“We registered influential and interested members of the community and, after carrying out a needs assessment, we proceeded with the training. At the end of the course, the refugees are provided with seedlings of trees, including mango, and banana, to help revive and maintain the forestry and local vegetation cover,” said Nhial Dak, a member of IOM’s Livelihood Support team in Gambella.
The Jewi Camp hosts 60,000 South Sudanese refugees and, as it is impossible to monitor all the activities of the refugee population, this awareness-raising is an approach that IOM has taken after making assessments and in consultation with the Ethiopian Administration for Refugee and Returnee Affairs.
IOM is also working with National Rural Development Program (NRDP) experts and trainings are now planned for Jewi, Kule and Nguenyiel refugee camps.
According to UNHCR figures, with more than 800,000 registered refugees, Ethiopia is the largest refugee-hosting country in Africa. It is also host to the largest number (over 320,000) of South Sudanese refugees in the world. With such a large refugee population, mostly relying on wood to cook their food, deforestation has become a major concern.