People Helped in 2017: 597,390
Uganda has 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 one of the major issues in northern Uganda, and the prevalence of undernutrition among children routinely surpasses emergency thresholds, especially among refugee populations. An estimated 29 percent of children under five in the country suffer from chronic undernutrition and stunted growth (UDHS, 2016).
By the end of 2017, Uganda was hosting more than 1.3 million refugees, primarily from South Sudan and Democratic Republic of Congo. The Ugandan government has maintained its commitment to supporting refugees, allowing them to settle and live outside a camp structure, allocating them land, and allowing for their freedom of movement. Nevertheless, the sheer number of refugees who have fled into Uganda has strained the country’s services and resources. Acute malnutrition is higher in the settlements in the northern region compared to other settlements in other parts of the country. Statistics from recent assessments also show high levels of anaemia among refugees across all settlements. The need for safe water, access to sanitation and latrines, and maintenance of existing water points and sanitation facilities is critical. Furthermore, refugees who have been living in Uganda for three or more years lack opportunities for sustainable economic independence and self-reliance.
Action Against Hunger works in refugee settlements and among host populations to address direct and underlying causes of malnutrition, improved access to safe water and improve food security and livelihoods. In partnership with UNHCR and the government of Uganda, we 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 child 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 ideal hygiene and sanitation practices.
In 2017, we significantly scaled up our programs to meet increasing needs. Our teams focused on strengthening the connections between long-term development and emergency assistance. We explored and pursued innovative ways to improve our programming, such as digital voucher systems to implement water and sanitation and food security projects.
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 and Western Uganda: Yumbe, Arua, Adjumani, Hoima and Kiryandongo.
WHAT WE ACHIEVED IN 2017
Nutrition, Health, and Care Practices: 426,845 people
- Reached the most vulnerable children in refugee settlements and host communities with services to prevent and treat undernutrition
- Strengthened local capacity and trained local health workers to provide treatment to children in need
Food Security and Livelihoods: 23,878 people
- Improved business skills and income for women farmers
- Distributed cash transfers instead of food rations to vulnerable displaced women
Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene: 146,667 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