UN expands Tongogara irrigation scheme
CHIPINGE TIMES REPORTER
CHIPINGE -Tongogara Refugee Camp is expanding its irrigation scheme from 50 to 150 hectares to improve food security.
Camp administrator Johanne Mhlanga said they have so far cleared 91 hectares. He said the scheme would accommodate 750 households managing 0.25 hectares each.
United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) is mobilizing resources to develop the irrigation scheme.
Tongogara Refugee Camp has a population above 15 000 refugees and asylum seekers.
“We have started the expansion process. So far, we cleared 91 hectares for flood irrigation. We begin with five hectares under drip irrigation as a pilot project. The whole idea of the irrigation scheme is to contribute towards food security.
“We want to ensure that refugees are involved in income-generating projects, and we also want to make sure that refugees are occupied and have something to do as families,” he said.
Mhlanga also stressed that the project will ensure that refugees do not depend on well-wishers for their livelihood as it will assist them in becoming self-reliant.
“We want to make sure that we remove refugees from the dependence syndrome where they rely on the benevolence of well-wishers and humanitarian agencies.
“It is important that we provide opportunities for refugees and asylum seekers together with members of the host communities to harness their capabilities in contributing towards their welfare,” he added.
He also highlighted that the expansion of the irrigation scheme is part and parcel of the strategic focus of turning Tongogara into a greenbelt.
In 2016, the United Nations General Assembly unanimously adopted the New York Declaration for Refugees and Migrants, which spells out the need to address self-reliance and host community challenges through the Global Compact on Refugees.
Global Compact on Refugees has four pillars that enhance self-reliance and create opportunities for refugees, easing pressure on host communities, addressing the root causes of displacement, and putting measures enhancing durable solutions to the refugee crisis.