Volunteers from Japan use sports and arts for peaceSep 7, 2018
Over a hundred South Sudanese refugee children currently in camps in Gambela, Ethiopia have received peace trainings through sports and art classes. Equal number of boys and girls, aged between 10 and 13 had the opportunity to be taught by four JICA volunteers as part of the partnership between the Government of Japan and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).
Ethiopia hosts almost a million refugees, placing it as the second largest refugee hosting nation in Africa and has recently signed up to the Comprehensive Refugee Response Framework (CRRF), which is expected to provide a multifaceted response to the concerns of host and refugee communities.
Gambela regional state is hosting over 47% of these refugees, mostly from South Sudan. UNDP’s intervention in Gambela, financed with 1.5 million USD by Japan, focuses on building the resilience of refugee hosting communities as well as building peace between the refugee and host communities. Through the project support, over 20,000 host communities have benefited from livelihood interventions so that they are able to use their additional earnings on medical expenses, children schooling and build their savings.
Most of the refugees are young, falling between the ages of five to 39, the majority comprising mainly of children and women. Therefore, the project has supported efforts to build the next generation of peace building. Children in the host communities have also been encouraged to become peace champions through their engagements in 22 school peace clubs established through the support of the UNDP-Japan project.
At the end of the JICA volunteers’ mission to Gambella, some of the artwork produced by the refugee children given as gifts to host community children to help build friendly relationships between the two communities.