• Text size Normal size text | Increase text size by 10% | Increase text size by 20% | Increase text size by 30%

UNHCR appeals for $5 million to kick-start Zambia project

News Stories, 27 August 2002

© UNHCR/L.Taylor
A refugee grinds corn at Myukwayukwa settlement in Western Province, Zambia. Agriculture is one of the areas targeted for development under the Zambia Initiative.

GENEVA, August 27 (UNHCR) The UN refugee agency on Friday urged donors to contribute an initial US$5 million to kick-start a $25 million relief/development project aimed at helping both refugees and the local community in western Zambia, with the United States already promising a substantial amount towards the appeal.

"This is just to jump-start the initiative and we're hoping that medium- and long-term investment will pick up quickly," said Sajjad Malik, who co-ordinates the Zambia Initiative project at UNHCR's Reintegration and Local Settlement Section.

The Zambia Initiative, mooted through a donor mission in March, is a government-led plan to co-ordinate donors' efforts to reduce poverty, link relief and development assistance, and contribute to peace and stability in Zambia's refugee-hosting areas. Targeted areas include agriculture, health, education and infrastructure, with projects being identified by the government and the local communities themselves.

Twenty local development committees have been set up in Zambia's Western Province to help plan, implement and manage the projects. They consist of refugees and Zambian communities elected by the beneficiaries.

The recent appeal of $5 million will help fund a first series of relief/development projects over the initial period of two years, from 2002-2003. The remaining $20 million should be financed bilaterally by direct contributions from donor countries over the next five years.

Already, the United States has promised a substantial amount towards the special appeal. Through direct investment, Canada has agreed to provide small cash grants, with Denmark funding the construction of a school. Sweden will contribute to HIV/AIDS-related activities while Japan will provide aid in the health and agricultural sectors.

The pilot project will start in the Western Province of Zambia, an area with a long history of hosting refugees. The region is home to Nangweshi refugee camp and the Myukwayukwa settlement. The number of refugees in Western province is estimated at 150,000, including a number of spontaneously-settled refugees.

Zambia is currently host to 292,000 refugees, mainly from Angola and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Despite recent positive developments in Angola, it is believed that a portion of Angolan refugees presently residing in Zambia will not return home, at least not immediately.

Many of them have been in exile for more than 20 years, and they will want to see the peace process solidify before they consider returning. Some are also concerned about landmines at home. Others affiliated with the National Union for the Total Independence of Angola (UNITA) will only go home if they receive assurances that they will not be persecuted or discriminated against in Angola. Many others may simply want to approach the Zambian government for naturalisation or citizenship.

In line with the Zambia Initiative's attempts to integrate refugees into local society, Zambia's Ministry of Home Affairs in July said it expected to present the Refugee Bill to Parliament in the next two months. Once ratified by Parliament, it will enable long-staying refugees to apply for citizenship on an individual basis.




UNHCR country pages


We help refugees, refugee returnees and internally displaced people tap their potential and build a platform for a better future.

Refugee Women

Women and girls make up about 50 percent of the world's refugee population, and they are clearly the most vulnerable. At the same time, it is the women who carry out the crucial tasks in refugee camps – caring for their children, participating in self-development projects, and keeping their uprooted families together.

To honour them and to draw attention to their plight, the High Commissioner for Refugees decided to dedicate World Refugee Day on June 20, 2002, to women refugees.

The photographs in this gallery show some of the many roles uprooted women play around the world. They vividly portray a wide range of emotions, from the determination of Macedonian mothers taking their children home from Kosovo and the hope of Sierra Leonean girls in a Guinean camp, to the tears of joy from two reunited sisters. Most importantly, they bring to life the tremendous human dignity and courage of women refugees even in the most difficult of circumstances.

Refugee Women

Silent Success

Despite being chased from their homes in the Central African Republic and losing their livelihoods, Mbororo refugees have survived by embracing a new way of life in neighbouring Cameroon.

The Mbororo, a tribe of nomadic cattle herders from Central African Republic, started fleeing their villages in waves in 2005, citing insecurity as well as relentless targeting by rebel groups and bandits who steal their cattle and kidnap women and children for ransom.

They arrived in the East and Adamaoua provinces of Cameroon with nothing. Though impoverished, the host community welcomed the new arrivals and shared their scant resources. Despite this generosity, many refugees died of starvation or untreated illness.

Help arrived in 2007, when UNHCR and partner agencies began registering refugees, distributing food, digging and rehabilitating wells as well as building and supplying medical clinics and schools, which benefit refugees and the local community and promote harmony between them. The Mbororo were eager to learn a new trade and set up farming cooperatives. Though success didn't come immediately, many now make a living from their crops.

Mbororo refugees continue to arrive in Central African Republic - an average of 50 per month. The long-term goal is to increase refugees' self-reliance and reduce their dependency on humanitarian aid.

Silent Success

International Women's Day 2013

Gender equality remains a distant goal for many women and girls around the world, particularly those who are forcibly displaced or stateless. Multiple forms of discrimination hamper their enjoyment of basic rights: sexual and gender-based violence persists in brutal forms, girls and women struggle to access education and livelihoods opportunities, and women's voices are often powerless to influence decisions that affect their lives. Displaced women often end up alone, or as single parents, battling to make ends meet. Girls who become separated or lose their families during conflict are especially vulnerable to abuse.

On International Women's Day, UNHCR reaffirms its commitment to fight for women's empowerment and gender equality. In all regions of the world we are working to support refugee women's participation and leadership in camp committees and community structures, so they can assume greater control over their lives. We have also intensified our efforts to prevent and respond to sexual and gender-based violence, with a focus on emergencies, including by improving access to justice for survivors. Significantly, we are increasingly working with men and boys, in addition to women and girls, to bring an end to dangerous cycles of violence and promote gender equality.

These photographs pay tribute to forcibly displaced women and girls around the world. They include images of women and girls from some of today's major displacement crises, including Syria, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Mali and Sudan.

International Women's Day 2013

South Sudan: Adut's strugglePlay video

South Sudan: Adut's struggle

Thousands in war-torn South Sudan have lost their homes and livelihoods. When seventeen year old Adut lost her parents, she also lost her childhood by taking on the role of mom and dad for her young siblings. But, despite the everyday struggle, she is finding new skills and new hope in exile.
Almost Home Play video

Almost Home

Former Angolan refugees, in exile for as many as three decades, are given the opportunity to locally integrate in neighboring Zambia with the help of UNHCR and the Zambian Government.
Lebanon: A Tradition Yields New OpportunitiesPlay video

Lebanon: A Tradition Yields New Opportunities

UNHCR and partners are training scores of Syrian and Lebanese women in traditional fabric printing – helping to sustain centuries-old techniques and provide livelihoods for refugees and host communities.