Mbarara City Mayor, Robert Mugabe, has called on local leaders to prevent land fragmentation, which leads to the growth of slums in the area. During the opening of the Formula 21 pitstop auto service and African Initiative for Relief Development (AIRD) multi-skilling center at Rwobuyenje Cell in Mbarara district, he emphasized the importance of maintaining larger plot sizes, such as 50×100 and 100×100, to attract investors and maintain city standards.
The newly opened facility, spanning approximately one and a half acres, aims to provide training in basic employable skills to youth, women, refugees, people with disabilities, internally displaced populations (IDPs), and their host communities.
Mayor Kakyebezi highlighted the center’s potential to benefit low-income earners, refugee camps, and street children by equipping them with practical knowledge to seek or create employment.
AIRD CEO Fikru Abebe stated that the organization plans to conduct four to six intakes annually, each with 40 students, with potential for growth in the future. AIRD, a key logistics partner for the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR), operates in 12 African countries, focusing on vehicle maintenance and infrastructure projects.
The partnership between AIRD and Corporation for Africa and Overseas (CFAO) Motors, formerly known as Toyota Uganda, aims to extend social services and employment opportunities by combining vehicle maintenance and repair with the skilling center.
Thomas Pelletier, Managing Director of CFAO Motors, emphasized the dual benefits of the partnership: quality car repair services for Toyota brand users and support for local communities through vocational training.
Uganda is home to 11 refugee settlements, accommodating approximately 1.4 million refugees from various countries.