Over 1.4 million people were registered with the Office of the Prime Minister and UNHCR as refugees and asylum seekers as at 30 June 2018.
Contrary to handing out food stuff as was popular in the refugee settlements; humanitarian agencies are now opting to hand out cash based assistance. This has been done in partnerships with Financial institutions that have requested them to open up accounts for this sum to be deposited onto their account.
With many of the refugees thinking of permanently settling in Uganda it is important that we look way past cash hand outs and refocus on financial literacy. These sessions are instrumental in weening the refugee community off humanitarian handouts and help them make financially sound decisions. These literacy sessions stress the importance of saving as well as teaching them how to choose and sustain an investment.
With this new approach comes challenges of refugees lacking basic knowledge of financial services like those relating to credit products. This has brought in a complication of some believing that loans are just like the Humanitarian cash outs. This has led many financial institutions to term them as highly risky for susceptibility to flight and poor repayment tendencies.
Financial literacy should also address their various fears that are usually associated with stopping of the handouts. This will help them easily adjust to the financial situation as all their anticipated hardships will be addressed and solutions offered. Orientation from constant handouts to adjusting into an ordinary life offering equal opportunities to attain financial services.
Let us teach them how to fish when they still have an alternative so that once the aid is totally stopped it will provide an easier transition. Let us give priority to financial literacy.