The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and the Japanese International Cooperation Agency (JICA) set up, Friday in Rabat, a project worth $275,000 to support the UNHCR’s response program to the Covid-19 crisis for refugees residing in Morocco.
The UNHCR and JICA said in a joint statement that, as of February 1, 2021, more than 14,000 people, living in 75 towns in Morocco, have been registered with the UNHCR. These include 8,300 refugees and nearly 5,700 asylum seekers, the statement said, noting that after the outbreak of the pandemic in March 2020, the protection needs of this vulnerable population exacerbated, impacting their socio-economic situation, their ability to meet their basic needs, and their mental health.
The UNHCR continued its operation and quickly adapted to this new context, while respecting the directives and measures undertaken by the Moroccan government, in order to meet the growing protection and assistance needs of these populations, said the statement.
At the same time, JICA continued its activities and projects to support the government of Morocco in combating the pandemic, including the Support Loan in response to the Covid-19 crisis, signed with the government of Morocco in December 2020, it added.
The UNHCR-JICA project, which will be implemented from March to September 2021, will assist refugees through raising prevention and awareness about the coronavirus, and supporting project-holders whose income-generating activities have been severely affected by the health crisis.
The project will be carried out in close collaboration with the UNHCR partners, namely the Moroccan Association of Family Planning (AMPF) for the medical component and the Moroccan Association for Small Enterprises Promotion (AMAPPE) for the empowerment of refugees through self-employment that promotes a better integration of refugees in their host country.
JICA’s support for UNHCR programs is in line with the National Immigration and Asylum Strategy (SNIA) and the multi-stakeholder approach of the Global Compact on Refugees, the statement said. This project will also strengthen JICA’s commitment to tackle disparities in Morocco and support vulnerable populations, especially during this pandemic situation.