Sight-by-side: One country, two perspectives

Two photographers, one Ugandan and one EU national, travelled together through Uganda. They will present their two perspectives of inequalities in this country

Inequalities may take many shapes and forms, shedding light on these can be the first step to reduce them. Two young photographers, one from the European Union and one Ugandan national, share their common journey through refugee settlements in Northern Uganda and slum areas of Kampala.
 
Uganda is the largest refugee hosting country in Africa with over 1.2 million refugees.  The European Union Emergency Trust Fund for Africa (Africa Trust Fund) is working with Uganda and other partner countries to address the root causes for destabilisation, forced displacement and irregular migration. During their journey, the two photographers had the chance to visit projects funded through the #AfricaTrustFund and their beneficiaries.
 
Find out more about their common journey, the people they met, the stories they were told and the memories they share. What inequalities are refugees and host communities facing and how is the #AfricaTrustFund tackling them?
 
Guillem Trius (Spain) focused on host communities living in and around settlements and Esther Ruth Mbabazi (Uganda) on South Sudanese refugees. They each asked one simple but powerful question. Guillem asked locals, 'If you became a refugee tomorrow, what would you miss the most?' Esther asked refugees, 'What did you manage to bring with you when you were forced to leave your home?'

Key points

  • Refugees must have access to housing, clean water, nutritious food, security, credit, transportation and jobs if they are to thrive in a new country.

  • Uganda is a world leader in refugee policy by offering land, the right to work and create businesses, freedom of movement and access to education.

  • Uganda is leading implementation of the Comprehensive Refugee Response Framework of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees as home to more than 1.2 million refugees – more than any other African country and among the most in the world.

  • The European Union Emergency Trust Fund for Africa has provided EUR 65 million for job training, education, conflict management and other initiatives to complement national refugee measures. It trained more than 2,400 people and created 3,100 jobs in Uganda alone.

  • Unlike refugee camps, settlements together with political representation allow inhabitants to integrate into society with dignity and a sense of belonging.

Synopsis

After walking for five days to reach the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) buses, one refugee at the Bidi Bidi Refugee Settlement in Uganda found some flour to make food for her child along the way. This story highlights two major issues for refugees and host communities: food security and access to transportation, especially to job centres. Such challenges were documented by young photographers from Uganda and Spain who visited refugee settlements in northern Uganda and youth slums in the capital of Kampala. They were funded by the EU’s Sight-by-Side initiative, which supports African and European art and media projects for promoting cultural understanding of African countries. Refugees were asked what they took with them when they were forced to leave their homes and locals were asked what they would miss most if they became refugees tomorrow. Their responses were visually captured in items such as a container of flour, a sewing machine or certificates of education. Refugee access to housing, clean water, nutritious food, security, credit, transportation and jobs is critical. Uganda has some of the most progressive refugee protection policies in the world. It is leading implementation of the UNHCR’s Comprehensive Refugee Response Framework as home to more than 1.2 million refugees – more than any African country and among the most in the world. The Ugandan government takes an inclusive approach to integrate refugees, offering them land, the right to work and open businesses, freedom of movement and access to education. The European Union Emergency Trust Fund for Africa complements these efforts by earmarking some of the EUR 65 million it provides for job training, education, conflict management and other purposes in Uganda and other countries. The Support Programme for Refugees and Host Communities in Northern Uganda (EUR 20 million) paid to train more than 2,400 people and created 3,100 jobs. These initiatives allow refugees to integrate into society with dignity and a sense of belonging, unlike their experience in refugee camps. Bidi Bidi, which is one of the largest refugee settlements in the world with a population of 250,000, is now a primary city in northern Uganda. It is integrated into local governance and refugees are allowed to participate in the political process, which helps integrate and represent them. Bidi Bidi was established in September 2016 to host South Sudanese refugees. Uganda is also home to refugees from the Democratic Republic of Congo, Burundi, Somalia and Rwanda. Less populated regions like northern Uganda are ideal for hosting refugees because they have space to grow. The photographers were impressed by the hopeful and welcoming attitudes of refugees and their host communities.

Insight

Photographs say so much about people who have so little.

Organised by

Speakers

Moderator
Meabh Mc Mahon
Euronews
Guillem Trius Soler
Photographer
EuropeAid
Paola Trevisan
International Aid/Cooperation Officer
European Commission - DG for International Cooperation and Development
Simon Muliisa
European Union Delegation to Uganda
Esther Ruth Mbabazi
Photographer
Freelance