Brief on our first training on refugees, IDPs and Returnees in Goma DRC organized by Intersos
Intersos is an implementing partner of UNHCR on issues around the protection of refugees, Internally Displaced Persons and Returnees focusing on Gender Based Violence. The three days training which started on Tuesday 28, 29, and 30th November 2023 at Kivu Lodge in Goma was in line with the Sixteen (16) Days of Activism against Gender Based Violence.
The participants were drawn from the Cluster of Protection which is coordinated by UNHCR and which focuses on refugees, Internally Displaced Persons and Returnees, and they were all local organizations based in North Kivu. A total number of around 30 representatives from various local organizations attended the training among them COJESKI/DRC, Coordination of North Kivu was also represented by one person. This was the very first time we were invited in events organized by UNHCR partners in Goma.
At COJESKI North Kivu we are much focusing on issues of forced migrants which brings together refugees, Internally Displaced Persons, and Returnees. And the audience during the training recognized COJESKI as the leading local organization of issues around refugees.
Presentation on the situation of refugees by UNHCR Goma
A presentative from UNHCR represented basics about refugees but still even if they were basics still the participants had no ideas about who a refugee is, where to get a refugee and how does a refugee look like. Many have never seen a refugee. This actually puzzled us and made us wonder how does the who local organizations involved in the protection cluster fail to have a clear knowledge on issues around refugees, but this was also another challenge we opted to take up. However this also described how the situation is too bad, if this is the case for such audience what happened to others stakeholders who are not part of this circle but we also knew that it may be in such manner because UNHCR has a vague response towards refugees in North Kivu in particular and in the Democratic Republic of Congo in general.
The training observed gaps of information on issues around refugees because most of actions and activities being done focused mostly on Internally Displaced Persons, whoever we realized that this was a challenge we need to address.
The meeting ended with a mapping exercise of local organizations which are active on issues of refugees, Internally Displaced Persons and Returnees in North Kivu and their areas of operation.