On Friday morning, 24th February, a small and colorful ceremony was held at the Prime Minister’s Office (Postel Building, Clement Hill Road), to hand over 10 double cabin pickup trucks and 21 Motorbikes to ten districts covered under the Development Response to Displacement Impacts Project (DRDIP). The occasion was presided over by Hon. Hilary Onek, the Minister for Relief, Disaster Preparedness, and Refugees. In attendance were District Chairmen, Chief Administrative Officers, DRDIP Desk Officers, and OPM officers.

Hon. Hillary Onek, handing over the vehicle to Adjumani District. He is flanked by Dr. Limlim (Director DRDIP), Mr. Charles Bafaki (Project Manager) and OPM Transport Officer, Mr. J.C. Kitonsa

DRDIP is a flagship Government Project under the Office of the Prime Minister that will provide development and direct income support to the poor and vulnerable within refugee hosting districts in Uganda. The Development Objective of DRDIP is to improve access to basic social services, expand economic opportunities and enhance environmental management in districts that host the largest number of refugees. These include the fourteen districts of; Adjumani, Koboko, Moyo, Arua, Yumbe, Madi-Okollo, Hoima, Kikuube, Obongi, Lamwo, Kyegegwa, Kamwenge, Kiryandongo, and Isingiro.

DRDIP is a World Bank-funded project which initially received a 50 million IDA loan but has now also received additional funding by way of a grant of 150 million dollars through the IDA Refugee Sub Window. DRDIP became effective on June 29th, 2017.

The vehicles which will support the capacity of the districts to implement the Project are comprehensively insured and equipped with electronic tracking systems. The four districts that did not receive vehicles in this lot, will receive in the next lot.

In his speech during the handover ceremony, Hon. Hilary Onek stated;

“DRDIP project has proved that host communities like the refugees have development gaps which if attended to can greatly enhance our hospitality as a country because of the improved relationship between the host communities and the refugees.

Through DRDIP, the Office of Prime Minister continues to address community development challenges, especially in the area of infrastructure development, environmental protection, and livelihoods. As you are all aware, our products are of superior quality.

As the accounting officers of DRDIP resources, I call upon all of you to adhere to the project guidelines including infrastructure designs. There are reports of deviations from designs by some districts, this is not acceptable and those found culpable shall be subjected to sanctions.

DRDIP is known for the efficient utilization of resources of which these vehicles are part of and must be used to accelerate the progress of the project and should not be diverted to perform unauthorized business.”

Dr. Robert Limlim, the Project Director, who also spoke at the occasion stated that the Mid-Term review found that DRDIP has performed satisfactorily with better than expected results especially in the area of Social-Economic Infrastructure. He further stated that DRDIP-Uganda which had started off late had already surpassed the other IGAD countries whose DRDIP-projects had begun before Uganda like Ethiopia, Kenya, and Djibouti in terms of absorption and utilization of funds.

He stated; “Uganda has received a commendation for running fast, overtaking and delivery of results. Our people have benefited and we have been led well by the Minister (Hilary Onek) to be focused on results. DRDP has now become a very attractive name for many development partners and several are seeking to join efforts with DRDIP.” Under DRDIP as of September 2019, 174 projects worth 87.7 billion have so far been completed under the component of Socio-Economic Infrastructure Development. These include 97 under the sector of education, 55 in health, 18 roads and bridges and four water projects.

So far the Project has provided access to socio-economic services for 1,406,833 beneficiaries or 781,897 households as compared to 233,440 households planned for at the beginning, representing an achievement of 607 percent compared to the planned target. Of these beneficiaries, 58 percent are female. 70% of beneficiaries feel that the Project investments reflected their needs according to the mid-term review, evaluation report Under the Education sector alone, 460 classrooms and 28 staff houses have been built within the two and a half years of the Project and over 3,474 desks have been purchased for these classrooms.

By Simon Kisaka, Comms Sp, DRDIP