Eight US Congressional staff visit World Vision’s refugee operations in the West Nile region.
This as part of efforts to raise more awareness about the plight of over one million South Sudanese refugees currently displaced by war in Uganda. The eight included: Tim Daniels, Katherina Dimenstein, Eric Harris, Donna Iken, Ann Marie Harrison, Hailey Hart, Hannah Wallace and Mena Hanna.
Congressional staffers are employees of the United States Congress or individual members of Congress. They are also Committee staff members who serve either the majority or minority on congressional committees. A congressional staff member’s duties include: doing research and providing strategic advice to congress members, evaluating political outcomes of various legislative proposals and constituent requests, plus managing agendas for congress members.
The delegation was accompanied by the U.S. Department of State’s Regional Refugee Coordinator, Jean Woynicki, and USAID’s Agriculture Officer Lily Kenny and Advisor Pamela Teichman. Together with World Vision, the delegation visited Imvepi refugee reception center plus a World Vision food distribution point for the World Food Programme at Bidibidi refugee settlement
While at Imvepi the congress staff met new arrivals from South Sudan, inspected food serving points, health care facilities, went through the refugee registration process and visited a World Vision Child Friendly Space where they interacted with over 400 refugee children. In Bidibidi, the world’s largest refugee settlement, the team witnessed more than 5,000 refugees receiving monthly food supplies distributed by World Vision with funding from the World Food Programme (WFP). The congressional staff interacted with refugees about the amount of food being received, challenges faced and help needed.
The team was also able to meet and interact with key sector leads from the Uganda government, UNHCR, WFP, UNICEF, World Vision and Water Aid.
The US government remains the largest donor towards the humanitarian crisis in Uganda. Between October 2016 - October 2017 America has contributed $221m towards refugee operations in Uganda.
As of September 2017, 1.3 million refugees have been registered in Uganda – including one million who have sought safety from the violence in South Sudan – as well as refugees from Burundi, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and elsewhere.