Olympic Broadcaster donates shelter materials and solar power system to Uganda refugee operation

Uganda - Olympic Broadcaster hand over items to UNHCR

UNHCR Head of sub-Office, Acacio Jafer Juliao (holding white card) poses with teams from the Olympic Broadcasting Service, local government and administration and UNHCR staff during the handover ceremony in Bidibidi settlement.   © UNHCR/Tukundane Yonna

YUMBE, Uganda: Olympic Broadcasting Services (OBS), the broadcasting arm of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), has donated materials to construct 50 housing units and a solar power system to UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency located in Arua, Moyo and Yumbe districts in Uganda.

The materials which include prefabricated walls, windows, ceilings and floors have been reconfigured and built by OBS into 50 units. Some will be donated to the local police personnel responsible for the provision of security for refugees in the settlements, and others to expand limited office facilities of the Office of the Prime Minister (OPM) and of UNHCR. This will enable staff to improve the management of services in these remote locations. In addition to the housing units, OBS has donated the 16 sea containers which were used to transport construction equipment required for the Games. These too have been reformed to container houses, providing additional shelter facilities.

The materials were originally used to create TV and radio studios and office space inside the International Broadcaster Center, the hub of the broadcasting operation, for the recent 2018 Olympic Winter Game in PyeongChang, the Republic of Korea, as well as in Rio 2016. The donation is part of OBS’s broader aim to promote recycling of the useable construction material and offer sustainable, easy to maintain and healthy dwelling places where they are needed the most.

The solar power system donated by OBS has been installed at Midigo government hospital in Yumbe.  On average, Midigo hospital serves more than 1,400 patients on weekly basis, approximately 10 per cent of whom are refugees. The system will provide better lighting and improve service delivery, which was previously solely dependent on generator power. The transition to solar energy supply is not only environment friendly, but also reduces expenditure on fuel and the high costs of generator maintenance.

This donation is an expansion of the International Olympic Committee’s (IOC) campaign “Become the Light” aimed at providing sustainable, solar-powered lighting solutions. The IOC is working closely with UNHCR to expand the campaign to refugee camps globally.  One such partnership was undertaken in Mahama Refugee camp in Rwanda, assisting more than 55,000 refugees by lighting up streets, households and sports areas.

“Inspired by the Olympic values of solidarity, OBS is eager to align our operational goals with projects that promote assistance and wellbeing in areas with the greatest need,” said Yiannis Exarchos, CEO of OBS. “Being able to achieve our own sustainability objectives, while at the same time contribute to the vital work being done in Uganda, represented a unique opportunity for us. We are proud that our work from the Rio and PyeongChang Games will go on to have a whole new life, serving those who truly exemplify Olympic values.”

 “This donation is in line with the spirit of international solidarity and responsibility-sharing with Uganda, a country that has been so generously hosting refugees for years despite its limited resources,” said Acacio Jafar Juliao, head of UNHCR Sub-office in Yumbe.

With approximately 1.4 million refugees, Uganda is living up to its international obligations, in spite of the pressures created by the unprecedented influx, and is moreover investing significant domestic resources in the protection, management and social integration of refugees.


About the Olympic Broadcasting Services

Olympic Broadcasting Services (OBS) was created by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) in 2001 in order to serve as the Host Broadcast organisation for all Olympic Games, Olympic Winter Games and Youth Olympic Games. The Host Broadcaster is responsible for delivering the pictures and sounds of the Olympic Games to billions of viewers around the world. More information is available at www.obs.tv.

For more inquiries, contact:

UNHCR, Duniya Aslam Khan; email [email protected]

Olympic Broadcasting Services; email [email protected]