By: Robert Owiny

The Development Response to Displacement Impacts Project (DRDIP) Uganda team, Monday 24th commenced an experience sharing mission with their visiting DRDIP-Ethiopia counterparts. The six-day long field excursion is supported by the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) Regional Secretariat in collaboration with DRDIP-Uganda.

A total of 15 delegates from Ethiopia arrived in Uganda over the weekend for this learning/collaborative engagement. The visitors comprise, 11 technical staff from DRDIP-Ethiopia and four (04) members of the Refugee and Returnees Services (RRS) in Ethiopia. The visitors will spend the week with their Uganda counterparts – learning and sharing from each other.

DRDIP-Uganda is a flagship Government of Uganda project that is being implemented by the Office of the Prime Minister with funding from the World Bank. Similar operations funded by the bank are in; Ethiopia, Djibouti and Kenya.

Role of IGAD

The IGAD Horn of Africa Regional Secretariat, plays four essential roles under the broader DRDIP arrangement, these includes: “Facilitate policy dialogue on the development approach to displacement; Research, knowledge generation and learning; Capacity support; Coordination and Partnership”, (Source: IGAD Regional Strategy).

This visit is therefore in line with the IGAD mandate, and is aimed at enabling the Ethiopian team members to learn from the Uganda experiences of DRDIP- Additional Funding (AF) which paved way for the project expansion into the refugee settlements.

The visit involves field experience sharing so that team Ethiopia can be able to draw lessons and good practices from DRDIP-Uganda –AF implementation and use it to fortify the design of the impending DRDIP-Ethiopia successor operation program which seeks to equally consider refugees as primary beneficiaries together with the host communities.

The Monday opening activity at Imperial Royal Hotel in Kampala, was steered by the DRDIP Uganda Project Manager, Caro Brendah Lorika who alongside other PIST (Project Implementation Support Team) members took the visitors through brief, but high-level presentations on the implementation approaches used by Team-Uganda.

DRDIP-Uganda Project Engineer, Samuel Owen Ochaya took the participants through Infrastructure component arrangements and the resource allocation methodology, while the Livelihoods Specialist, Emilly Awilli shared the approach for the Livelihoods Support unit. The M&E sector was ably tackled by the sector specialist, Herbert Akampwera alongside by the M&E officer, Isaac Mugume. Further lessons on Sustainable Environment and Natural Resource Management were equally conveyed by the respective unit officers. The team also took the visitors through the Social Safeguards approach embraced by Uganda.

The Ethiopia team asked questions around: Resource allocation formula; sustainability mechanisms; conflict alleviation techniques; partnerships; and land management among others. The answers to these questions provoked further discussions and knowledge acquisition. The inquiries were also documented to allow a further written explanation that will later guide the visiting team better.

Project site visits to some of the DRDIP Uganda implementing districts starts, Tuesday 25th and is expected to enrich the learnings as the visitors shall get an opportunity to see the sites, listen to and interact with the refugee beneficiary communities. The team will as well get insights into how the Community Driven Development (CDD) Model and the work with international Partners such as UNHCR is handled in Uganda.

The visit is expected to end on Friday 28th January 2022 with a debrief session that will be presided over by the DRDIP Uganda Project Director, Dr. Robert Limlim. END.