Belgium provides £1.5 million to support refugees in Rwanda

On 7 December 2017 at 03:26

The Kingdom of Belgium has contributed a total of £ 1.5 million to maintain food assistance for over 128,000 Burundian and Congolese refugees as well as asylum seekers residing in camps in Rwanda, and to pilot an innovative cooking fuel solution for refugees to enhance their livelihoods and reduce environmental, health and protection impacts of cooking.

Meanwhile, £1 milliom will go to the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP ) and £500,000 million will go to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).

The contribution was availed yesterday by the Ambassdor of Belgium to Rwanda Benoît Ryelandt during his official visit to Gihembe refugee camp.

At the camp the envoy was received by the Minister of Disaster Management and Refugees Affairs (MIDIMAR), Jeanne d’Arc de Bonheur, the UN Refugee Agency’s Representative, Ahmed Baba Fall, and the World Food Programme Deputy Representative, Siddiqui Abdurrahim.

"On behalf of the Government of Rwanda, I commend the Kingdom of Belgium for the contribution to WFP and UNHCR given to maintain food assistance for Burundian and Congolese refugees as well as asylum seekers residing in camps in Rwanda,” said Minister Jeanne d’Arc de Bonheur.

“Furthermore, we expect that the initiative of clean cooking fuel pilot will help achieve both environmental protection providing efficient cooking techniques which will as well reduce indoor air pollution. The current climate change challenges call for innovative solutions alternative to firewood. We are always working for the people, for our planet and our prosperity. As the Government of Rwanda, we are committed to doing our best to make sure all contributions available reach the specific beneficiaries. Meeting the needs of the refugees and asylum seekers in terms of food and nutrition situation prevent malnutrition in the population, especially among women, young children and other vulnerable groups,” DeBonheur added.

This contribution is critical as food ration cuts have been implemented across all camps in Rwanda by 10% as of last month, and are expected to continue if further contributions are not received. Refugees in Rwanda’s camps continue to entirely depend on humanitarian assistance to meet their basic needs.

The Belgian contribution has allowed WFP to purchase mainly maize and beans for Burundian refugees as well as cash transfers to Congolese refugees to enable them to buy food from local markets. WFP also purchased fortified blended food, to support the most vulnerable people who are in need of a particular diet.

In addition to monthly food distributions and cash transfers, WFP also provides supplementary food for pregnant and breastfeeding women, children under the age of five, people receiving treatment for HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis.

“WFP is grateful to the Kingdom of Belgium for its continuous commitment to refugees in Rwanda, the region and around the globe,” said WFP Rwanda Country Director and Representative, Jean-Pierre de Margerie adding that support is important in meeting the food needs Burundians and Congolese who have fled their homes to Rwanda.

Belgium’s 500,000 EUR contribution to UNHCR will enable 19,500 Congolese refugees in Kigeme camp, located in Southern Province, and the host community members, to have access to clean cooking through cash to purchase sustainably produced pellets, which includes the lease of clean and highly efficient cook stoves.

As UNHCR and WFP are both providing cash assistance in Kigeme camp, in lieu of food and in-kind support traditionally provided by UNHCR such as blankets, soap among others, refugees will be able to opt to buy the clean fuel and stove package with their cash allowances.

The Minister of Disaster Management and Refugees Affairs (MIDIMAR), Jeanne d’Arc de Bonheur and the Ambassdor of Belgium to Rwanda Benoît Ryelandt signing the support