Uganda is the largest refugee hosting country on the African continent, and in 2017, it received the most refugees worldwide. The country houses 1.2 million refugees and asylum seekers, mainly from South Sudan, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Burundi and Somalia.
Following the outbreak of civil war in South Sudan in 2013 and conflict in DR Congo’s Ituri region in 2017, a large influx of refugees has stretched the country’s resources, particularly land. Today, more than 815,000 South Sudanese and close to 340,000 Congolese are seeking refuge in the country.
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.
Most of the refugees in Uganda are women and children. 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 2018
We give both life-saving and long-term support to South Sudanese refugees in Uganda. We are one of the few organisations addressing the needs of children and youth in Uganda’s West Nile, Western and South Western regions, as well as the needs of refugees in the capital Kampala. Our staff 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.
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
- 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
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
Livelihoods 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
- provide cash grants to refugees with specific needs, especially those with disabilities, single headed households and elderly, to enable them to cover their basic needs upon arrival
Shelter 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
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
- 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)
- War Child Holland
- Education Cannot Wait Fund
- Dubai Cares
About NRC in (country)
Rich nations must renew support for refugees in Uganda
Living conditions in some of Uganda's largest refugee settlements are deteriorating due to a lack of funding and are resulting in refugees taking drastic measures to survive. The Norwegian Refugee Council calls on donor countries to take more responsibility for the 1.2 million refugees living in the poverty-stricken nation.
Refugee entrepreneurs boost host communities
Vocational training in Uganda is changing the perception that refugees are a burden to host countries. In Bidibidi, South Sudanese women are coming together to create new opportunities that benefit their host communities.