Luanda — A clothes donation exercise at an Angolan camp housing Congolese refugees has degenerated into a farce after women refused to accept shorts offered by a Japanese manufacturer.
The clothes had been shipped for distribution at the Lovua refugee settlement in Angola's northeastern Lunda Norte Province.
Officials from the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) confirmed shorts meant for women could not be distributed as the intended beneficiaries turned down the donation.
"In any distribution, it is always important to consider the cultural traits of the beneficiaries," said a UNHCR spokesperson after the distribution of clothes by UNIQLO.
The official noted intended beneficiaries could not accept the donation of shorts as the refugee and host communities were socially conservative.
"In the case of women from both the refugee and host community, it was not possible to give them shorts. Many women preferred at least three-quarter length bottoms and/or full length skirts," the UNHCR official stated.
Nonetheless, 60 000 pieces of clothes were distributed to refugees and members of the host community in Lovua .
"UNHCR Angola is appreciative of the donation as," the UN refugee agency's spokesperson said.
In 2017, political and military instability in the Kasai region of the Democratic Republic of the Congo forced more than 35 000 people to seek refuge in Lunda Norte.
More than 50 percent of the refugees are aged under 18.