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New school year in Uganda!

Streets bustling with children heading to Ubuntu Model Primary School, part of GRI’s education project in Kiryandongo Refugee Settlement. Our team ensures inclusive, quality education for refugee, IDP, and host community kids.

Excitement fills the air as children reunite with friends after two months. With dedicated staff and engaging activities, learning is in full swing! Afternoons are packed with games, sports, and drama to boost intellectual and social skills.

We’re proud to collaborate with parents, teachers, and partners to nurture these young minds. Our recent PTA meeting saw over 80% participation-a testament to our strong community bond. Together, we’re shaping a brighter future for these children.

Please join us in supporting the cause by making a donation through the link

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Voices from Uganda – Urgent Plea for Sudanese Refugees

Due to the ongoing conflict in Sudan since April 2023, nearly 6.2 million people have been displaced inside and outside Sudan, which currently makes it the largest protection crisis in the region. As the conflict parties violated various ceasefires and are not willing to enter peace agreements, more Sudanese are expected to flee out of the country this year. Given that Sudan is a refugee hosting country itself it is most likely that the ongoing conflict will also lead to the secondary displacement of refugees in Sudan.

The displacement of such large numbers of people has major implications on Sudan’s five neighbouring countries, the Central African Republic (CAR), Chad, Egypt, Ethiopia, and South Sudan, as they receive most of those seeking safety. However, some of these countries struggle with internal conflicts themselves and the resources for the humanitarian assistance of the ones in need are limited.

Nevertheless, to ensure life-saving assistance and the access to basic services and protection, UN-OCHA and UNHCR launched the Regional Refugee Response Plan (RRP) on the 7th of February 2024. With its four strategic objectives, the 2024 RRP guides all involved stakeholders in the provision of assistance – find out more here.

Although Uganda is not an immediate neighbor to Sudan, it offered its support by accommodating Sudanese refugees. In December 2023, Kiryandongo Refugee Settlement, where GRI implements its programs, received approximately 1500 new arrivals from Sudan. More were on the journey. Our Board Member, Mary Akugizibwe was there and met some of the newly welcomed families. Today, she shares her insights with us:

“I visited Kiryandongo refugee settlement in Uganda 2 days after Christmas and met incredible Sudanese families facing unimaginable challenges. New-borns with no proper clothing, mothers going hungry, a severe lack of water, sanitation and hygiene facilities, kids eager to go back to school in 2024 but there aren’t enough schools, the few available health facilities are congested – the struggle is real.

While celebrations filled the air elsewhere during the Christmas season, for the Sudanese refugees, it was a time marked by misery and hardship

I spoke with Amina, a new mom of twins, living in a makeshift tent offered by UNHCR with her husband Samir, she had given birth 3 months before while at the Reception Centre at the border with Uganda and South Sudan. She was worried whether her newly born twins would survive these hard conditions.

There is an urgent need for humanitarian aid.

The challenges faced by these Sudanese refugees in Uganda are immense, and local NGOs like Global Refugee Initiatives (GRI) play a critical role in meeting such immediate needs.”

We call upon everyone to support GRI as one of the implementing partners addressing this crisis.

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Gameplay to Enhance Classroom Learning

This week we officially launched our game-based learning activities at Ubuntu Model Primary School. During school holidays as well as during regular lessons, our learners get the opportunity to enhance their learning experience by playing games such as the 5-STAZ developed by My Home Stars, Scrabble and others.

Why use games to teach? The instructive and fun board game activities complement the national curriculum and facilitate learning for children who struggle with conventional teaching methods. Research shows that using games in teaching can help increase student participation and foster social and emotional learning. The positive social encounters strengthen the children’s self-confidence and improve their psycho-social well-being. Moreover, the playing sessions serve as a platform to create bonds of friendship, build trust and solidarity amongst each other.

During your education, did you get the chance to learn through games? What is your experience with game-based learning? Share your comments with us.

Also, if you wish to support our education program please visit our donation page or reach out to us via: info@griuganda.org

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A Memorable Team Building Experience at Murchison Falls National Park

In a refreshing departure from the routine, the dedicated staff of GRI embarked on an exhilarating team-building trip to Murchison Falls National Park.

Team-building exercises ranged from problem-solving challenges to trust-building activities, all carefully designed to promote communication, cooperation, and a sense of unity.

Upon arrival, the team was greeted by the majestic Murchison Falls, where the Nile River plunges through a narrow gorge, creating a breathtaking moment. The roar of rushing water served as a natural soundtrack to the collaborative spirit that enveloped the group.

As the day unfolded, the team had the chance to explore the park’s wildlife. Safaris through the savannah revealed the rich biodiversity that Murchison Falls is known for, with encounters with elephants, giraffes, and other species. The shared excitement of spotting wildlife added an extra layer of bonding to the team.

The Murchison Falls team-building trip served as a reminder that fostering a strong team dynamic goes beyond the confines of the workplace. The natural beauty of the park, combined with purposeful activities, created an environment where colleagues became friends, and professional relationships deepened.

GRI arranges team-building activities periodically, including lunch-and-learn sessions, workshops, and tours.

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Kiryandongo Refugee Settlement is Welcoming New Arrivals from Sudan

As the war in Sudan continues, thousands of people have been displaced within the country and beyond. With the aim of protecting the most affected, UNHCR has started to resettle Sudanese families to other countries. Uganda acknowledges the shared responsibility of providing war-affected populations a safe space and is thus amongst the resettlement countries.

In December 2023, Kiryandongo Refugee Settlement welcomed 1500 new arrivals straight from Sudan. After two days at the reception center, the families were provided with starting kits, including essential household items, and were located in different Clusters within the settlement. 

Just as many other organisations, Global Refugee Initiatives was involved in the reception process. To provide guidance to the new arrivals, organisations got the opportunity to welcome them and present their services. The refugee leaders, many of whom have lived in the settlement for years, spoke encouraging words to their new neighbours, sharing their stories and reassuring them.

Whilst every beginning is hard, we are willing to support the new arrivals to our best and facilitate their settling in.

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A Happy New Year to All of You

The Board of Directors at Global Refugee Initiatives (GRI) extends heartfelt gratitude to each and every one of you for your unwavering support throughout 2023. Your commitment has played a crucial role in achieving significant milestones that have positively impacted the lives of those we serve. As we enter into a new year, we anticipate the possibilities of 2024 and look forward to your continued support and loyalty.

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Wishing you a joyful and festive season!

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Joint Monitoring and Farmer Field Exhibition Day: An Opportunity to Share Experiences and Learn From Each Other

End of November, our GRI farmer groups participated in a joint monitoring and farmer field exhibition day in Kiryandongo refugee settlement. The event, sponsored by the Food and Agriculture Organisation Uganda (FAO), bought together a number of livelihoods partners to showcase their programs, share experiences and learn from best practices.

GRI Farmer Groups Showcase their Products

The technology showcasing and farmer field exhibition included diverse income-generating activities such as: Poultry keeping, craft making, tailoring, vegetable kitchen gardens, rain water harvesting systems and block farming and many more. Our farmer groups also got the chance to demonstrate their gardens, harvest samples as well as processed products, e.g. sweet potato fries. Our Livelihoods Officer shares his insights:

“We are grateful to FAO for bringing us together as a sector and enabling us to learn from each other through this joint monitoring exercise. Our farmers have also gained exposure by participating in the farmer field day exhibition show. This has been a platform for them to do market linkages and sell some of their products.”

Brian Gonzaga
GRI Livelihoods Officer   
Kitchen Tower Vegetables Garden

Joint monitoring and learning exercises aim at providing organisations with the knowledge and network to improve their programs to further empower refugees to achieve self-reliance and economic independence.

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Empowering Futures: My Home Stars Partners with Global Refugees Initiatives

Recently, My Home Stars and Global Refugee Initiatives launched a strategic partnership. The motivation behind this partnership stems from the mutual commitment we share to provide accessible education to children impacted by conflicts in refugee camps and other educationally deprived regions. Subsequently, a pilot program introducing the 5 STAZ educational games at GRI’s School, Ubuntu Model Primary School in Bweyale was executed. The games are intricately designed to captivate and engage children in the Ugandan Educational Curriculum, particularly targeting Primary 4, 5, 6, and 7. They encompass the four key modules (Mathematics, English, Science, and Social Studies) taught at the primary school level in Uganda, aligning with the syllabus and updated on a termly basis.

Fun and instructive: The learners of Ubuntu Model Primary School testing the game.

Spending almost a week working with GRI to implement the game-based learning program using the 5 Staz games, was a very memorable achievement for us. From interacting with teachers at Ubuntu Model Primary School, it is very clear that the teachers are committed to ensuring that the children can access quality education in order to reach their career goal and achieve their life potential. Teachers from Ubuntu and the entire GRI staff acknowledge the fact that children inherently love to play and learn in a child friendly space which is also visible from the different activities integrated into their learning programs. While at Ubuntu Model Primary schoool, I got to learn a lot about their Environmental Kids Club, Music Dance and Drama and Awareness Clubs which makes me excited about this collaboration and getting to add the 5 Staz as a resource for teachers and students.

– Erick Ziponi, Program Manager My Home Stars –
The teachers also get to try: Training the teachers on how to integrate the game into their lessons.

It was an amazing experience for the first time learning to use the 5 Staz games. These educational board games are simplified and suitable for our learners. I am very sure that these games will greatly impact our children’s performance as they move forward. Both learners and teachers enjoyed the games. I thank GRI and My Home Stars for bringing the board games to Ubuntu Model Primary School.”

– Fred Omuno Ronald, Ubuntu Model Primary School Head Teacher –

Beyond the academic set-up, GRI has established a vibrant culture among all the Staff member, and brought on board teachers who are passionate, and great team players which really made my work of running the pilot much easier. Needless to say, the commitment of the organization to enhance the financial status and livelihood of parents and children in the community through the livelihood enhancement program and the sustainability program is humbling.”

— Erick Ziponi added
The Environmental Clubs shows off some of the vegetables they have grown in the school premises

For the beginning, these educational games will be utilized for two weeks at the onset of the upcoming term, specifically for Primary Three students. The aim is to offer supplementary lessons that will bolster their comprehension of class subjects as they progress to Primary Four.

Long term, this partnership is going to focus on five key objectives including;

  1. Increased outreach and education access to underprivileged children through increasing awareness of educational opportunities for refugee children with limited access to quality education.
  2. Improve our program synergy and complementarity through identifying areas of expertise in each of our organizations and leverage them for a more comprehensive educational offering and develop joint programs that complement each other, providing a more holistic educational experience.
  3. Capacity building and resource sharing by sharing new educational materials like the 5 Staz, learning approaches, and best practices that will make teachers more effective facilitators.
  4. Improve and enhance community engagement in areas where our partner schools are located through the design and implementation of our various educational programs.
  5. Joint fundraising strategies for long-term educational planning to adapt to changing needs and contexts.

We are so excited and as this partnership unfolds, we not only hope to enhance educational access but also to contribute to the holistic development of children in underprivileged communities that we both serve.

My Home Stars Website: www.myhomestars.com


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The Fruit of Passion and Hard Work

An Update

In August, we reported about our newly launched passion fruit project. In partnership with the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), Global Refugee Initiatives provided farmer groups in Kiryandongo refugee settlement with seedlings, land and training for passion fruit growing. Four months later, we are wondering: How are our gardens? What are our farmers up to?

An update from our Livelihoods Officer:

“Now, our passion fruit gardens have reached the flowering stage. This is the most critical stage for all farmers to assist the plants in giving more flowers which eventually turn into more fruits. At this stage, we recommend fertilizer application, rich in potassium, nitrogen and calcium, to strengthen our fruit quality and avoid flower abortion. Also, management of pests and diseases like fungal attacks is very key at this stage, preparing for the bumper harvest.”

Brian Gonzaga, GRI Livelihoods Officer

Harvest time is approaching!

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