The Federation of Small and Medium Sized Enterprises(FSME) and International Labour Organisation (ILO) have kicked off an initiative to enhance access to business development services for 200 micro enterprises owned by refugees and host communities.
Speaking to the Nile Post shortly after a news conference, John Walugembe, the executive director FMES, said this initiative targets those that previously benefited from the small business grants package in Rhino and Nakivale refugee settlements.
This intervention, he said, is part of prospects programme which brings together five agencies including World Bank, UNICEF among others to promote inclusive jobs and education for host communities, refugees and forcefully displaced persons.
“These refuges need to be helped to run sustainable business in order to survive but the focus should not only be on refugees it should also be on the host communities. This intervention tends to look at refugees as entrepreneurs who can create different jobs for themselves and for others,” said Walugembe.
In Uganda, Walugembe said this programme is operating in Isingiro, Madi-Okello, Terego and Arua districts.
In preparation for this intervention, Walugembe said 16 staff of FSME participated in the training of trainers’ workshop.
“The staff were taken through the gender and enterprise together and get ahead programme which aims to support women’s and men’s in their efforts to start and grow thriving businesses while recognising the different barriers and opportunities affecting women and men abilities to dedicate time and resources to leading successful business,” he said.
Walugembe explained that the training programme was developed in 2004 to address the shortcomings of standard business skill programmes that failed to address specific needs of the less literate women in particular.
The staff were also taken through the basics of business formalisation by the Uganda Registration Services Bureau.
Grace Rwomushana, the national programme coordinator at ILO told the Nile Post that the components of the training to help these refugees will include business management.
“The package also has components of soft skills such as communication skills, negotiations and other comments of running a business. The package also includes how do you plan your business better. As ILO partnered with FSME in 2020 to support the business that had closed down because of Covid-19,” she said.