With over 1.4 million refugees, Uganda is the largest hosting country in Africa. However, many refugees living in the West Nile face food insecurity. Together with the Uganda Red Cross Society (URCS), GRC supports refugees and host communities to improve food security and support livelihoods. At the same time, we support and strengthen the capacities of our partner, URCS, to implement appropriate programs in displacement contexts.
The situation in Uganda
Most refugees arrive from crisis-ridden South Sudan and the Democratic Republic of Congo. At the beginning of 2020, 90 percent of the people living in settlements for refugees were dependent on food aid.
Refugees in Uganda have the right to work, start businesses and have free access to public services, including education and health. In addition, refugees are not housed in camps; upon arrival they are given a plot of land in village-like settlements, and they can move around freely, subject to administrative restrictions. However, more than half of the refugees are minors and in need of assistance.
Building capacities of URCS to respond to refugee needs
GRC provides support to URCS to help strengthen its own capacity to meet the needs of refugees and members of host communities and to safeguard their livelihoods. 17,000 refugees and community members, half of them women, receive support.
Since 2018, measures have been implemented with funds from the Federal Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development (Bundesministerium für wirtschaftliche Zusammenarbeit und Entwicklung: BMZ) to strengthen URCS’s role as a national aid organisation in providing services to refugees. The first phase of the project ended in December 2020, and the second phase is now focusing on capacity building in the areas of food security and livelihood support in order to be able to respond specifically to the current needs of households in Uganda. Relief activities are taking place at local, regional and country-wide levels. A GRC staff member is on site to coordinate the project.
The capacity of URCS to respond to the needs of refugee and host communities in northern Uganda has been improved through pilot food security projects and development-oriented approaches in northern Uganda. This has been achieved by increasing local production for self-consumption and investing in livelihood skills. The project also focuses on energy-saving technologies through more efficient use of fuel for cooking and appropriate means of preserving and storing food after harvest.
Relief measures in Uganda
Support for the communities
- • Training 100 community groups of refugees and community members on relevant topics such as agricultural productivity, water storage, crop management, food storage
- Equipping the groups with quality seeds and larger tools such as axes or sprayers
- Equipping 1,200 households with cost- and fuel-efficient cookers / bio-briquettes and appropriate training on their use
- Networking between the groups and local institutions for long-term support after the end of the project
Strengthening Ugandan Red Cross Society
- Mobilisation of 200 employees and volunteers
- Training on food security and livelihoods issues
- Training 44 trainers in the areas of food security and household energy
- Improve networking and coordination of the URCS with government authorities and humanitarian actors
- CEA (community engagement and accountability) trainings
- Supporting exchange between other URCS branches and organisations. The aim is to present learned strategies and pilots from other branches.
- Supporting the development of a URCS food security and livelihoods strategy in the refugee context
- Disseminating the revised Red Cross Act through radio and TV shows in Uganda
Region: Northern Uganda; URCS branches in settlements for refugees with a focus on Yumbe and Moyo/Obongi
Project volume: 1.200.000 EUR
Duration: 1 January 2021 to 31 December 2023
Funding: BMZ, German Red Cross/donations
Partner: Ugandan Red Cross Society (URCS)
Objective/Title: “Increasing the importance and capacity of the Uganda Red Cross Society (URCS) as a national aid organisation supporting the refugee response in Northern Uganda – Phase II”