Mission context

In 2017, Uganda continued to experience peace and steady development, despite increasing pressure for a steadily growing refugee population, primarily from South Sudan. Uganda’s political regime remains stable, and the climactic conditions, while unpredictable in regions, have continued to ensure regular harvests across the country.

Since July 2016, Uganda has welcomed over 1 million refugees from South Sudan, who continue to flee violence, famine and persecution in their home country. Uganda’s refugee policy remains exemplary, providing refugees with access to land, social services and economic integration. However, these displaced populations still require emergency support to meet their daily needs, especially in the early days of their displacement.

Moreover, the region of Karamoja continues to lag significantly behind the rest of Uganda, with regards to development indicators. Illiteracy, malnutrition and mortality rates are significantly higher than the rest of the country, primarily attributed to the historic marginalisation of this region, limited trade integration with the rest of the country, and a harsh semi-arid climate.

ACTED in Uganda

Enhancing climate sensitive livelihoods

ACTED in Uganda is committed to supporting the development of climate-sensitive livelihood activities, with a primary focus on agricultural activities throughout the Karamoja region and Northern Uganda. ACTED seeks to harness agriculture as a sustainable income generating activity for vulnerable communities in rural areas. The ACTED Uganda team supports communities to build resilience to climate shocks and stresses through drought early warning information disseminated at community level, while supporting farmers to maximise income from agricultural production. The mission is also using this expertise to build partnerships with social enterprises in both the agricultural value chain and renewable energy spheres.

ACTED works primarily in Karamoja, in the North East of the country. Karamoja lags behind the rest of the country in almost all development indicators. Cattle herding and agriculture are the primarily livelihoods in the region, with most households relying on these activities for survival. However, climatic shocks and stresses, and limited access to affordable value addition services, hinders their access to sustainable incomes. ACTED supports these households by making accurate climate information available to farmers, simultaneously building their agricultural production capacity and market access. ACTED also engages with the private sector to offer affordable agricultural value addition services, by harnessing the cost-saving power of renewable energy.

Enhancing resilience through climate sensing and community engagement

Karamoja is more heavily affected by drought than any other region in Uganda. The region suffers from severe environmental degradation, weak basic social service delivery, low productivity and poor health and sanitation infrastructure. As a result, the population of this region remains highly vulnerable to unfavourable climate conditions. ACTED’s Drought Early Warning System (DEWS) was first trialled on a small scale in 2009, and has developed over the last eight years to encompass the whole of Karamoja. The DEWS is used as an early warning mechanism for droughts, combining information from the Uganda National Meteorological Authority, with primary vulnerability data, to provide comprehensive information to both communities and development partners. In 2017, ACTED handed over management of the flagship Drought Early Warning System in Karamoja to the Government of Uganda. It is now being integrated into the country-wide early warning system network.


©Sumy Sadurni for ACTED Uganda
ACTED uses community structures to disseminate information from the Drought Early Warning System in Karamoja, including women's groups

Agricultural livelihood support through improved technology

Decreasing food waste by reducing the post-harvest losses of smallholder farmers is a vital step towards meeting the world’s growing food needs. The Uganda team supports farmers in Karamoja to reduce their post-harvest losses through targeted training and distribution of specially designed storage solutions. The new technology has been shown to allow farmers to retain 98% of their harvest; significantly more than traditional storage techniques, which are estimated to retain only 40-50% of the harvest. This approach supports ACTED’s strategic goal of improving the lives and livelihoods of smallholder farmers, and making food more affordable and consistently available for poor households, leading to an overall increase in food security in Uganda

In 2017, 1,500 refugee households supported to meet basic needs 

Uganda is now home to over 1.3 million refugees from South Sudan, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Burundi, and other neighbouring states. Uganda affords refugees with almost all of the same rights as citizens. This approach has been heralded worldwide as the model for refugee integration. However, refugees in Uganda still struggle to meet their basic needs, and require support to allow for their integration into the country. In 2017, ACTED opened its operations in the West Nile region to respond to this pressing need. The NGO provided 1,500 households with cash transfers, allowing them to meet their basic needs in the early days of displacement.

Current projects

Food Security and Resilience for Vulnerable Populations

Emergency Livelihoods in Moyo district, under the Emergency Response and Resilience Strategy for Refugees and Host Communities

Emergency Livelihoods in Yumbe district, under the Emergency Response and Resilience Strategy for Refugees and Host Communities

Soutien à la gestion de l’information pour la coordination de l’action du HCR en faveur des réfugiés en Ouganda

Information Management Support to UNHCR’s Coordination of the Refugee Response in Uganda

Capacity support to smallholder farmers under agriculture and market support

Improving food security and resilience of communities in Karamoja

Emergency intervention alongside South Sudanese refugees and host communities in West Nile – Uganda, through coordinated and appropriate WASH and education services and resources to rebuild livelihoods

©Sumy Sadurni for ACTED Uganda
A women drama group presents monthly recommendations to vulnerable communities to support climate-appropriate livelihood activities.
©Sumy Sadurni for ACTED Uganda
Community meeting in a rural community to provide drought early warning recommendations
Specialised farming equipment enable to store 70% more grains by reducing and pest access to the produce
Since the disarmament of the region, very little has been written about Karamoja. ACTED published an in-depth report of the dynamics affecting migrations in the region.
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