The diocese of Kajo-Keji of the episcopal church in South Sudan and The Lutheran World Federation (LWF) country program in Uganda are exploring joint work across the border, to support South Sudanese refugees in Uganda.
The diocese, through its development department Faith, Development and Relief Agency (FADRA), and LWF Uganda are exploring joint work on capacity building, trauma healing, and empowerment of communities to support South Sudanese refugees now living in Northern Uganda.
The bishop of the Kajo-Keji diocese, the Right Reverend Emmanuel Murye, recently joined LWF Uganda on an awareness-raising campaign on COVID-19 in Palorinya refugee settlement in Northern Uganda. On a so-called road drive, he spoke about the risk of unofficial cross-border movement. Some refugees have gone back to check on houses and family members who stayed. In addition to risking losing their refugee status, food rations, and other help in Uganda, they now also risk spreading the COVID-19 infection in the highly vulnerable refugee settlement.
“We greatly appreciate the bishop’s collaboration in the recent awareness-raising and sensitization campaigns. The voice of faith leaders has a lot of authority among refugees. They know him, they are his people, so his advice on how to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 is likely to be followed by many.” says Jesse Kamstra, LWF country representative in Uganda.
The signing of the Cessation of Hostilities (COH) document, the basis for a lasting ceasefire, in December 2017 and the revitalized peace agreement in September 2018 have renewed hope for lasting peace in South Sudan, particularly among the more than 2.3 million South Sudanese refugees in neighboring Uganda, Kenya, and Ethiopia.
LWF has been working in refugee camps and settlements in those countries, and in the past year has intensified cross-border cooperations, with other LWF country programs (link: https://www.lutheranworld.org/news/lwf-country-programs-east-africa-plan-joint-approach-humanitarian-crises), but also related agencies and faith-based partners. The diocese of Kajo-Keji is located in the South Sudanese state of Equatoria, bordering Northern Uganda. It was the site where hostilities sparked in 2016 and the origin of many refugees whom LWF Uganda serves in Palorinya and Moyo refugee settlements in Uganda.