LUSAKA-The Government of Japan has announced a contribution of USD 1.5 million (One Million Five Hundred Thousand United States Dollars) to support the Government of Zambia and the UN Refugee Agency‚Äôs 2015 refugee and local integration programmes in Zambia.
Japan‚Äôs Ambassador to Zambia, His Excellency Mr. Koishi Koinuma announced the funding in the Zambian capital, Lusaka today and commended the Government of the Republic of Zambia for the exemplary hospitality to refugees over the years, and particularly, for offering to locally integrate 10,000 former Angolan refugees. Ambassador Koinuma said his government was pleased to be associated with efforts to find durable solutions to protracted refugee situations, and to enhance the quality of life of refugees, former refugees, and the host Zambian community.
UNHCR Officer-in-Charge in Zambia, Mr. Peter Janssen, described the Japanese contribution as a clear indication of the Japanese Government’s strong and consistent support to the refugee program in Zambia and to durable solutions in particular. The Government of Japan has in fact been supporting UNHCR work in Zambia consistently since 2013 and most projects in Zambian villages surrounding the refugee settlements have been funded thanks to the Japanese contributions.
“We are extremely grateful for the support we get from our donors and in particular for the support received from the Government and people of Japan,” said Mr Janssen. “I wish to assure the Japanese Government that we will always do our utmost best to ensure optimum utilization of these resources destined to current and former refugees and the host population. This being said, the local integration program in 2015 critically needs additional support and we hope other cooperating partners will be following the example of Japan.”
The Honourable Minister of Home Affairs, Mr. Davis Mwila MP, expressed his sincere gratitude to the Government of Japan for their generous support toward the local integration programme in Zambia. He described the donation as a clear commitment on the part of the Japanese government to contribute to the efforts of the Zambian government in improving the general living conditions of not only refugees and former refugees, but also of the local population in refugee hosting areas.
Mr. Mwila urged other donor countries to emulate the well-meaning gesture demonstrated by the Japanese government by supporting various programmes targeting refugees, former refugees and the host communities. He also assured the international community of the Government‚Äôs accountability in the effective use of donated funds.
‚ÄúWe are grateful for the support we continue to receive from our cooperating partners, such as the Government of Japan. Only a true and long term partnership between the Government and the international community will ensure that the local integration programme in Zambia brings the expected dividends to former refugees and Zambians,‚ÄĚ explained Minister Mwila.
The Government and UNHCR will use the funds to support a range of interventions including in the areas of food security, empowerment of women and communities, and the rehabilitation of health and education infrastructures. The funding will also promote self-reliance through livelihood programmes on agriculture, animal husbandry, and business skills and vocational training. The support is expected to provide assistance to over 37,000 beneficiaries in the two refugee settlements of Meheba (Northwestern Province) and Mayukwayukwa (Western Province) and the nearby resettlement areas targeted for local integration.
In 2013, Japan contributed US$3 million to the refugee programme in Zambia, and another US$3 million were given in 2014, with about US$1 million earmarked for the local integration programme.
Zambia currently hosts over 50,000 persons of concern mainly from Angola, Burundi, Democratic Republic of Congo, Rwanda, and Somalia. The majority of the refugees reside in the two settlements, while the rest are in urban areas or self-settled.