World Refugee Day: Patrick Anyanzo finds comfort and hope in carpentry

June 11, 2024

Patrick Anyanzo on a working day at his workshop in Agojo Settlement, Adjumani District

UNDP Uganda

Uganda is home to over 1.52 million refugees, the largest number in Africa and third largest globally. These refugees have largely fled conflict and instability in countries like South Sudan, Sudan, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), and Burundi. Recognizing the challenges faced by both refugees and host communities, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA) embarked on a multi-year project, the "Uganda Host and Refugee Community Empowerment Project” in the districts of Lamwo, Obongi and Adjumani.

Patrick Anyanzo, a 22-year-old refugee from South Sudan, currently living in Agojo refugee settlement in Adjumani district, has benefited from this project. He gained carpentry skills and created a livelihood opportunity through the sale of his furniture.

Patrick Anyanzo doing some measurements at his workshop

UNDP Uganda
"I am very grateful for the support given to me by KOICA and UNDP. Because of them, I can now dream and hope for a better tomorrow. I plan to open a bigger workshop, which will give me the capacity to become a mentor to the youth in Agojo settlement."
Patrick Anyanzo

Through the Technical Vocational Education and Training (TVET) program, Patrick not only successfully completed vocational skills training in carpentry but also emerged as the top performer in his group on the Directorate of Industrial Training exam. Now self-employed, Patrick was supported with a startup kit that enabled him to set up a workshop, earning him an average of 200,000 UGX monthly, from which he saves a portion regularly.

Patrick was among 430 beneficiaries of the project which has supported women and youth to undergo vocational skills training. He successfully completed a three-month course and graduated with a certificate awarded by the Directorate of Industrial Training.

Patrick Anyanzo doing final touches to his furniture

UNDP Uganda

The story of Patrick Anyanzo exemplifies the transformative power of investing in both refugees and host communities. While host countries like Uganda generously offer refuge, they can face significant development challenges. Recognizing this complex situation, UNDP is committed to working alongside government, humanitarian organizations, development partners, and peacebuilding actors to empower refugees and host communities. 

UNDP will continue to build resilience by strengthening capacities at national and local levels, henceforth allowing for better coordination, service delivery, livelihood creation, access to justice, and social cohesion for all refugees and host communities in Uganda. Furthermore, UNDP will prioritize inclusion by mainstreaming age, gender, and diversity considerations. This means promoting gender equality and women’s economic empowerment.

By investing in both refugees and host communities, and addressing the root causes of displacement, UNDP aims to create a future where stories like Patrick's become the norm – a future where everyone has the opportunity to build a better life.