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Kids go to school in Uganda

We are here in Uganda

Uganda houses the largest number of refugees in Africa. Even though Uganda is dealing with its own difficulties, refugees from South Sudan and DRC are welcomed with warmth and solidarity. COVID-related impacts have been serious with regard to our livelihoods and education projects, but fortunately there have been many achievements as well.  

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Uganda stands out in refugees hospitality

total population of Uganda
refugees took shelter in Uganda in 2022
of the refugees in Uganda originate from South-Sudan

Relief and recovery

Building on a future together

Every day, refugees are arriving from South Sudan and DRC. At the same time, in the northern part of the country, people are struggling with the aftermath of the civil war, led by the Lord’s Resistance Army, which withdrew from Uganda in 2005 and 2006. ZOA responds to urgent needs of both refugees and host communities.

In Uganda, ZOA has activities in the field of food security, livelihoods, peace building - land rights and basic education. ZOA works in three different regions. In West Nile Region, ZOA works on relief and recovery with refugees from South Sudan, DRC and host communities. In Acholi Region in the north and Karamoja Region in the northeast, ZOA works on recovery with former internally displaced people. Working in close cooperation with the communities we serve, our goal is to create viable impact.

The impact of our work in Uganda in 2022

With a team of around 94 staff members we supported 45,775 people.

conflicts have been peacefully resolved, with the help of mediators trained by ZOA
11,155 learners in West Nile were supported with scholastic materials
parcels of land were registered

West Nile: refugees and host community

After almost 2 years of closure due to COVID-19, schools have re-opened in January 2022. Getting children ‘back to school’ is one of our main priorities.More than half of all refugees in Uganda are children. Schools in and around the settlements in West Nile are overwhelmed by the enormous needs. Through ZOA’s work, access to education is increased through rehabilitation and construction of classrooms and teacher houses, support of learners with scholastic materials and girls with sanitary kits, as well as tailored support for children with disabilities. The quality of education is enhanced through the provision of  learning materials, and by supporting the government of Uganda with training of qualified teachers.

ZOA furthermore builds capacity and resilience of youth, equipping them with employable, societal and business skills. In addition, we work with farmergroups in Terego District on landrights and peacebuilding, through the development of tenure agreement for land use between host and refugee communities, which is expected to contribute to sustainable development in the area.

Acholi Region: farmers and vulnerable youth

In Acholi Region, ZOA supports re-building peaceful and stable communities that faced years of displacement during the conflict between the Lord’s Resistance Army and the government of Uganda. The region has been struggling with land conflicts, which limits sustainable access to land for (vulnerable) farmers. ZOA works towards improved land security by supporting farmers to register their land and secure their livelihood. Our farming skills training further supports farmers to engage in climate-smart agricultural practices.

A woman with her child in Uganda

Karamoja Region: pastoralist returnee communities

In Amudat District, Karamoja Region, ZOA supports (agro-)pastoralist returnee communities who were forced to flee to neighbouring Kenya as a result of intensive intertribal cattle theft. In a region that is one of the poorest and most marginalized of Uganda, our holistic approach supports sustainable recovery and development. With the long-term support of private donors, we support quality primary education and help communities to engage in agriculture and bee-keeping. We create awareness among communities about the importance of education, as key towards development.

working together

Donors and partners

We work with funding from Education Cannot Wait, the European Union, the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Driestar College, Stichting Dioraphte, Stichting Pharus, Stichting Wees Een Kans, GIZ, ZOA Business Ambassadors and Florys.

We work together with Save the Children, World Vision, Nwoya District Local Government,  PALM Corps, Gulu University, NUDIPU, Light for the World, ADF, VNGi, GIZ, and The Hague Academy. We are ambassador of the ‘Make 12.4% Work Initiative’, that works towards improving employment opportunities for persons with disabilities. We support the global Act 4 Education Campaign of Education Cannot Wait. 

Farming in Uganda
Celistino from Nwoya, Uganda

Celistino from Nwoya, Uganda

Land is of utmost importance. Our lives depend on the land. Having a land certificate of ownership has improved my life significantly. Now I can plant all sorts of things without anyone trying to claim my property. My wife and daughters have equal rights.