People Helped in 2016: 244,568
Uganda continued to struggle with slow economic growth, a constant stream of refugees from conflicts in neighboring South Sudan and eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, and the lingering instability of a two-decade-old struggle against the Lord’s Resistance Army, a violent opposition group that has terrorized the north. Hunger is a major issue in northern Uganda, and the prevalence of undernutrition among children routinely surpasses emergency thresholds, especially among refugee populations. An estimated 33 percent of children under five in the country suffer from chronic undernutrition and stunted growth.
In July 2016, an upsurge in hunger and conflict in South Sudan prompted an unprecedented influx of refugees into Uganda, due to the government’s “open-border” policy that welcomes refugees, despite an enormous strain on local resources and infrastructure. Since then, the Uganda currently hosts an estimated 1,000,000 South Sudanese refugees and at the peak of violence in 2016—as many as 4,000 per day. Bidi Bidi refugee settlement in Yumbe District has become the world’s largest refugee settlement. Action Against Hunger launched an immediate emergency response program in Bidi Bidi settlement and in nearby Adjumani to respond to the humanitarian needs of refugees in the short term, and in the longer term. We are working in partnership with UNHCR and the government of Uganda to support health centers in host communities and in refugee settlements to provide lifesaving screening and treatment for severely malnourished children, as well as educating and empowering mothers and caregivers about proper care and feeding practices to prevent malnutrition and improve child health. We are also ensuring that refugees and host communities have adequate access to safe water and sanitation. Our teams are building wells and drilling boreholes to deliver sustainable sources of clean water, and educating communities about healthy hygiene and sanitation practices.
Northern Uganda, including the Karamoja region, is underdeveloped, arid, prone to drought, and suffers the country’s highest poverty rates. Karamoja has experienced three consecutive years of weak crops and food shortages. Communities have very little access to basic social services and struggle with chronic food insecurity as a result of high food prices and difficult conditions for farming, raising livestock, or earning income. Action Against Hunger is also working in northeast Uganda in the arid region of Karamoja to help small-scale farmers and pastoralist communities improve food security and income, and develop resilience to hunger.
Action Against Hunger began working in Uganda in 1980 in response to a food crisis and famine conditions in the Karamoja Region. We currently have programs in five districts in northern Uganda: Kiryandongo, Adjumani, Nwoya, Amuru and Kabong.
WHAT WE ACHIEVED IN 2016
Nutrition, Health, and Care Practices: 148,420 people
- Reached the most vulnerable children in refugee settlements and host communities with services to prevent and treat deadly undernutrition
- Strengthened local capacity and trained local health workers to provide treatment to children in need
Food Security and Livelihoods: 17,170 people
- Improved business skills and income for women farmers
- Distributed cash transfers instead of food rations to vulnerable displaced women
Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene: 78,978 people
- Improved access to clean water and reduced the threat of waterborne diseases
"This was a turning point in my life. I can manage my basic needs now. I have enough food to stock my house, I've sent my youngest child back to school, and I'm able to manage the hospital bills for my son. Now I have the courage to work even harder."—Margaret Akello, farmer, mother, and participant in Action Against Hunger livelihoods program, Uganda