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EU uses art to empower young people in host and refugee communities

Initiatives supported by the European Union in areas that welcome refugees cover a broad range of industries.

As the result of a campaign dubbed the “EU Youth Art Competition in West Nile,” the European Union staged an art show in Yumbe District.

Launched during the World Refugee Day festivities in 2023, the campaign aimed to give young people in West Nile’s refugee-hosting communities a forum to showcase their artistic abilities.

The campaign was jointly executed by Faces Up, a non-profit organization empowering youth through art and engaged 682 young people between the ages of 8 and 21 from three districts across West Nile.

Art experts took the young artists through guided sessions to create art along specific themes including empowerment and self-reliance, environmental protection, governance and leadership, and access to justice and protection for peaceful and prosperous communities

“With the help of this platform, we were able to offer a secure environment where young people, particularly those from host and refugee groups, could develop their artistic abilities. We firmly think that art has the ability to provide young people with a platform to express their creativity.

In order to provide refugees and host communities in Uganda with longer-term development assistance as well as life-saving humanitarian aid, the European Union’s support for the Ugandan government is essential.

The European Union has worked with the government in a number of areas that benefit both refugees and host communities, contributing more than €400 million in development and humanitarian support to the national refugee response since 2016.

Over 1.5 million refugees, mostly children, are now being hosted in Uganda, according to UNHCR data. Young people make up 55% of Congolese refugees and 65% of South Sudanese refugees.

The refugee crisis disproportionately affects and exposes young people to a range of risks.
Giving kids safe places to express themselves and hone their artistic abilities enables them to focus their energy and creativity, according to Roisin Carols.

Children and teens in host and refugee communities confront a variety of issues, including as changing family dynamics and obligations, poor mental health, the fear of losing childhood, and limited access to high-quality education and services.


In order to encourage revenue-generating enterprises and provide refugees and their host communities with the resources they need to develop resilience, this also includes support for skill development and livelihoods.

Supporting services also improves access to water, sanitation, hygiene, and education at the local level as well as local governance.

Additionally, the European Union has taken specific action to stop the worsening of the environment and ecosystems, as well as to expedite vulnerable populations’ access to justice and protection.

The top 45 entries’ artwork was on show at the event, and participating artists received certificates of participation from the EU as well as supplies for their own use.

In December, the EU will present the artwork in an exhibition in Kampala, following the West Nile festival.



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