Read caption Photo: Ingrid Prestetun/NRC

NRC in Uganda

Uganda hosts over 1.3 million refugees and asylum seekers. NRC gives both life-saving and long-term support to refugees from South Sudan, DR Congo and Burundi.


A total of


people in need received our assistance in 2020.

Humanitarian overview

Uganda is one of the countries hosting the largest number of refugees in the world, reaching over 1.3 million in 2019, an increase of 13 per cent from 2018. The majority of the refugees are from South Sudan, DR Congo and Burundi.

Uganda is committed to CRRF (Comprehensive Refugee Response Framework) and has an open door policy to refugees. These commitments have however not been reflected in funding for the refugee response, which has reached only 35 per cent of the planned amount. The response capacity is limited, resulting in lack of access to services and impacting also on the capacity for refugee determination, causing time delays and protection risks.

Tension is increasing as the host communities are having difficulties sustaining the large refugee population with limited support. The response is focussed on the larger settlement and refugee groups. Very limited assistance is being given to urban refugees and smaller hard-to-reach groups. Assistance has also a focus on food security, with food distribution and other sectors, such as protection, livelihood and education, getting less funding and attention.

People we helped in Uganda in 2020

people benefited from our education programme
people benefited from our food security programme
people benefited from our shelter programme
people benefited from our ICLA programme
people benefited from our WASH programme

NRC's operation

The NRC programme in Uganda has a community-based approach and uses protection analysis to inform the response and target the most vulnerable refugees and host communities. The programme is multisector and anchored mainly on cash-based interventions, with expertise in education, livelihood and food security, WASH, shelter and ICLA. NRC is present in all larger refugee hosting districts. In 2020, focus on the hard-to-reach populations is our priority, resulting in an integrated urban programme, among other activities.

NRC is part of Uganda’s Covid-19 task force and supports access to health services and awareness raising activities.

NRC EducationEducation

We work to improve attendance rates in school, especially among girls. We offer an accelerated education programme for refugee children, so that they catch up and join the official school system. Our education teams:

  • offer catch-up classes and support primary education for children and young adults
  • provide vocational training to young adults with self-employment and diversified livelihood options
  • support teacher professional development
  • support construction and rehabilitation of learning facilities
  • support improvement of teachers’ welfare in hard-to-reach areas
  • provide scholastic materials

NRC Information, counselling and legal assistance (ICLA)Information, counselling and legal assistance (ICLA)

Our information services help refugees make informed decisions about returning to their home countries. Our ICLA teams:

  • help refugees obtaining legal documentation
  • help resolve disputes on housing, land and property
  • research and provide information services and training sessions on housing, land and property, refugee status determination, legal identity, and employment laws and procedures

NRC Livelihoods and food securityLivelihoods and food security

The lack of post-primary school opportunities is a major challenge for refugees in Uganda. To help them earn a living, our livelihood and food security teams:

  • support communities to access agricultural tools and seeds
  • offer vocational skills development for refugees and nationals in self-employment, agriculture and entrepreneurship
  • provide business support and cash grants to vulnerable youths to increase their access to income generating livelihood opportunities
  • provide cash grants to refugees with specific needs, especially those with disabilities, single-headed households and elderly people, to enable them to cover their basic needs upon arrival

NRC Shelter and settlementsShelter and settlements

Our shelter teams:

  • construct emergency and semi-permanent shelter and latrines, especially for refugees with specific needs, like people with disabilities and the elderly
  • build and rehabilitate learning spaces and provide furniture
  • constructing quarantine centres as part of our Covid-19 response

NRC Water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH)Water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) promotion

Our WASH teams are responsible for bringing clean water and sanitation to displaced and local communities. Our WASH experts:

  • provide clean drinking water and latrines to settlements, as well as schools and vocational centres
  • together with communities, establish water facilities for refugee villages and schools
  • provide permanent water solutions to refugees
NRC Uganda is grateful for the generous support from our donors:
  • Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs (NMFA)
  • Directorate-General for European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations (ECHO)
  • United Nations refugee agency (UNHCR) 
  • Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida)
  • United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF)
  • Education Cannot Wait Fund
  • EU Emergency Trust Fund for Africa (EUTF)
  • Dubai Cares
  • Norwegian Embassy
  • Swedish Embassy

About NRC in Uganda

1997, re-registered 2014.
International staff
Areas of operation
Kampala (Country Office), Area office in Yumbe with programmes in Yumbe, Palorinya, Arua and Adjumani, Area office in Kampala with operation in Kampala, Kyangwali, Bundibugyo and Isingiro.
Budget 2019
NOK 90 million
National staff


Country Director

Ulrika Blom


+256 788 405 902