Regional Director Gabriella Waaijman joins trainnes during a practical session in hair braiding at Nyumanzi Settlement. Photo: NRC
Read caption Regional Director Gabriella Waaijman joins a practical session in hair braiding at Nyumanzi Settlement. Photo: NRC

NRC in Uganda

Uganda hosts about 1.4 million refugees and asylum seekers. NRC gives both life-saving and long-term support to South Sudanese refugees.


A total of


people in need received our assistance in 2017.

Humanitarian overview

Uganda is the largest refugee hosting country on the African continent, and in 2017, it received the most refugees worldwide. The country houses 1.4 million refugees and asylum seekers, mainly from South Sudan, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Burundi and Somalia.

Uganda has unique laws and regulations that promote the safety and wellbeing of refugees. The Refugee Act of 2006 stipulates that refugees have the right to free movement and work, to establish businesses, and to access public services like health care and education.These facilitates the integration of the refugees with the host communities.

The majority of refugees in Uganda are from South Sudan (over 1 million). Following the outbreak of civil war in South Sudan in 2013, a large influx of refugees has stretched the countries resources, particularly land. 

At the same time, 82% of refugees in Uganda are women and children. Many South Sudanese children have no primary education. Girls are often kept from going to school, forced to help at home and take care of siblings, and are often married off at early age.

People we helped in Uganda in 2017

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

NRC gives both life-saving and long-term support to South Sudanese refugees in Uganda, in addition to ICLA programmes for urban refugees in Kampala. We are one of the few organisations addressing the needs of children and youth in Uganda's West Nile region, as well the needs of refugees in the capital Kampala. Our experts work to ensure that both boys and girls have equal opportunities to succeed.

While equipping refugee children and youth with skills to build their futures, we also address urgent needs caused by the large influx of refugees entering the country.

NRC EducationEducation

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

  • offer AEP and support primary education for children and young adults
  • give vocational training to young adults on self-employment and running small businesses
  • conduct teacher training
  • help construct additional classrooms, offices and latrines for schools, and vocational centres. We do this in coordination with our WASH and food security teams.
  • work with and train school management committees which support teachers in accessing accommodation
  • provide text books and furnish classrooms with new desks, chairs, and chalkboards


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

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

  • help refugees obtaining legal documentation
  • help resolve disputes on 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
  • Provide legal counselling and advice on available options


NRC Livelihoods and food securityLivelihoods and food security

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

  • distribute agricultural tools and seeds
  • offer vocational training for refugees and nationals on self-employment, agriculture, sewing, cooking, and basic literacy and numeracy
  • provide business support and cash grants to vulnerable youth so that they can start their own business


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 schools and provide furniture
  • identify and prioritise potential strategies to improve shelter safety


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, in collaboration with our education teams
  • construct water boreholes for refugee villages and schools
  • work together with UN agency for refugees on permanent water solutions to gradually phase out water trucking, which is expensive and unsustainable


About NRC in (country)

1997. Re-registration 2014
International staff
Areas of operation
Kampala (Country office), Adjumani, Yumbe, Arua and Kampala.
National staff


Country Director

Muhumed Hussein


+256 784 811 020
NRC Uganda is grateful for the generous support from our donors:
  • NMFA
  • ECHO
  • SIDA
  • War Child Holland
  • Education Cannot Wait Fund