Adjumani refugees get improved sports facilities

UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency with financial support from the government of Japan, has completed construction of sports facilities at the   Paridi Stadium in Adjumani District, which will provide shared space for sports, social and economic interactions for some 393,000 refugee and host community youth.

The facility was handed over to district authorities at a colourful presided over by the First Deputy Prime Minister, Gen Moses Ali and attended by the Japanese ambassador to Uganda, Kazuaki Kameda and the deputy representative of UNHCR, Mahoua Parums among others.

The stadium was established in 1997 and was the only sports stadium in Adjumani district. It is part of the Refugee Host Community Empowerment Programme (ReHOPE), and was selected as a priority by Adjumani district local government for financial support from UNHCR.

The project was designed to improve the stadium facilities including the construction of a perimeter wall, toilets, dressing rooms (for teams and officials), a sports hall, drainage system and installation of solar security lights.

The improvement work was a result of Japan’s commitment to Uganda’s refugee response programme at the Solidarity Summit held in Kampala, in June 2017.  The project commenced in December 2017 and concluded in March 2019.

Gen Moses Ali thanked the Government of Japan for being one of the most consistent donors to Uganda’s refugee programme.

“Africans have broken new ground in many sports worldwide. We see them shine at the Olympics, at football World Cups and in athletics, among others. I am very optimistic that Paridi stadium will provide the opportunities needed for the talented youth here to develop their sporting skills and compete successfully,” Moses Ali said.

Addressing the gathering, Kameda noted that this accomplishment could be attributable to both the diligent work by UNHCR’s staff and the self-help effort by the host-communities and refugees.

“I am very pleased especially with the commitments made by the beneficiaries, both host-community members and refugees, who will strengthen peaceful co-existence between the two,” Kameda said.

UNHCR’s Parums said that the sports facility will help to strengthen social cohesion within the refugee communities.

“Youth constitute 21% (15-24 years) of the refugee population. Sports for them is an opportunity to be included and protected – a chance to heal, develop and grow. Sport can also be a positive catalyst for empowering refugee communities, helping to strengthen social cohesion and forge closer ties with host communities,” Parums said.

From inception to completion, the project was closely supervised and monitored by UNHCR together with Adjumani district engineers under the Ministry of Works and Transport.