Uganda is the first African country to receive €4.3 million ($4.7 million) out of a European Union €1.8 billion ($1.96 billion) grant for activities to curb violent extremism, foster stability and control migration to Europe.
The funding is drawn from an ad hoc European Union trust fund for stability and stemming irregular migration by promoting resilience, addressing forced displacement of persons in Africa, enhancing economic opportunities, security and development. The EU parliament approved the funds in November 2015.
Official ranking by country of origin, according to the International Organisation for Migration (IOM), shows Eritrea and Nigeria as top African countries that have people running away from either political difficulties or simply seeking greener pastures in Europe.
The grant benefits Bwaise, Kisenyi, Kabalagala and Katwe communities, all slums on Kampala’s outskirts.
The IOM says that as more people move into urban areas in East Africa, they settle in slums as they search for economic opportunities. With the influx also come issues of security. Part of the grant will be used for community policing and building public trust in the authorities.
The grant, to be co-ordinated by IOM and implemented by Action for Fundamental Change and Development, a civil society organisation based in Bwaise, is expected to create economic equity through training in courses like catering, videography, tailoring, arts and crafts, electrical repairs, and hairdressing. Youth will be given start-up grants for their businesses after graduation.
“Bwaise has youth with talent, as do Kabalagala, Kisenyi and Katwe. They will become hotbeds of innovation, business opportunities and creativity,” said EU head of delegation Kristian Schmidt.