IOM, Japan Support Host Community Livelihoods in Gambella, Ethiopia

Gambella, January 31, 2017 (GMN) - IOM has provided beehives and beekeeping equipment to 50 households in communities hosting refugees in Gambella region, Ethiopia, to increase livelihood opportunities and boost family incomes.

The beehives were distributed in the villages of Kamri, Jewi and Bonga, which are all located near the Jewi refugee camp, which hosts some 57,000 refugees from South Sudan.

Together with the beehives, a full start-up package was provided with all the necessary tools and equipment to begin a honey producing business. The delivery of beehives and accompanying equipment is part of a project funded by the Government of Japan, which supports refugee and host community livelihoods in Gambella, and has constructed 712 shelters in the Jewi refugee camp.

“I used to make honey using traditional methods, but this modern equipment will help me produce a much larger amount,” said Obang Okiri, a resident of Jewi village. “I will be able to sell it in the Jewi camp and in the main market in Gambella. Some of the harvest I will keep for my family.”

Assisting host communities in improving their livelihoods plays a vital role in creating positive interaction with the neighbouring refugee camp residents, in addition to helping them cope with the immense economic changes that living next to a large refugee camp can bring to daily life.

The livelihood and shelter project is implemented in partnership with the Administration for Refugee and Returnee Affairs (ARRA), the National Resource Development and Environmental Protection Department (NRDEP), Abol Woreda (district), and UNHCR.

The households that received the beekeeping kits underwent training by IOM on how to take care of a beehive. A kilo of honey can provide a substantial income. Honey also has a high energy content which is important for family nutrition. In the coming weeks, IOM will also provide vegetable seeds and agricultural tools to 171 host community households. Fishing nets and lines will also be supplied to host communities living near the river Baro, which flows through Gambella.

“The beehives are an important step in IOM’s support of host communities in Gambella and form a strong bridge to the assistance we provide in terms of livelihood and shelter activities within Jewi refugee camp, thanks to our Japanese funding,” said Miriam Mutalu, IOM Head of the Sub-Office in Gambella.

Under the same project, 688 refugees in the Jewi camp were engaged in the construction of their own shelters, along with 60 people employed in the IOM workshop inside the camp. The upgrading of the shelters coincided with livelihood support for refugees in the areas of poultry rearing, home gardening, embroidery handiwork, and retail activities. Combining shelter and livelihoods helps to ensure the dignity and safety of refugees, together with improved income and better nutrition.

For further information, please contact Miriam Mutalu at IOM Gambella, Tel: +251 94 6692 501, Email: mmutalu@iom.int