Photo: Ingrid Prestetun/NRC

NRC in Uganda

Uganda hosts over 1.5 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 2022.


Humanitarian overview

Uganda is hosting over 1.5 million refugees, an increase since January 2019 of 20 per cent. Uganda is the largest refugee hosting country in Africa. The majority of refugees are from South Sudan and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

Uganda has an open-door policy to refugees and a progressive legislation giving protection and access to services, work and movement, and is committed to the global CRRF (Comprehensive Refugee Response Framework). The commitments have however not been reflected in funding and this has been further worsened by the Covid-19 pandemic. In May 2021, only 22 per cent of the response was funded, leading to protection risks and making it difficult for refugees and their host communities to sustain themselves. This is also increasing tensions between the refugee and the host communities.

The Covid-19 pandemic and the socioeconomic impacts of the restrictions on movement and activities, has further exacerbated the difficult situation. Vulnerable groups are getting more desperate as they don’t have access to basic survival resources, resulting in negative coping mechanisms.

  • 166,584
    people benefited from our education programme
  • 18,005
    people benefited from our food security programme
  • 5,348
    people benefited from our shelter programme
  • 64,228
    people benefited from our ICLA programme
  • 138,892
    people benefited from our WASH programme
  • 24,246
    people benefited from other NRC activities


NRC's operation

NRC’s 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 2021, scaling up our activities with 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 school materials and multipurpose cash to address financial barriers to education

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
  • address issues around refugee status determination

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 through cash interventions 
  • 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
  • construct 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
  • raise awareness and sensitise on high-risk practises including on Covid-19 prevention

About NRC in Uganda

1997, re-registered 2014
International staff
Areas of operation
Area office in Arua with programmes in Yumbe, Tergol, Madi Okollo, Imvempi, Arua and Adjumani, Area office in Kampala with operation in Kampala, Kikube, Kisoro, Bundibugyo and Isingiro
Budget 2020
NOK 90 million
National staff


Country Director:

Laura Marshall