Improved Management of Humanitarian Aid in Northern Uganda

Situation Report
Originally published


Location of operation: UGANDA
Amount of Decision: EUR 4,000,000
Decision reference number: ECHO/UGA/EDF/2006/01000

Explanatory Memorandum

1 - Rationale, needs and target population

1.1. - Rationale:

Northern Uganda is suffering its twentieth year of armed conflict. The Government of Uganda is fighting against the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) in northern districts. Current IDP (internally displaced persons) caseload remains high with 1,5 million IDPs receiving food aid; the overall IDP population is estimated at around 2,0 million (OCHA CAP 2006). IDPs continue to live in substandard IDP camps where neither minimum services nor adequate protection are provided.

The nomination of Uganda by the Inter-Agency Standing Committee (IASC(1)) as a pilot country for implementation of the UN Cluster Approach in 2006 provides Uganda with a unique, welcome opportunity to improve both the co-ordination and management of humanitarian assistance. This approach is currently being piloted in Uganda. Improved service provision, especially protection, to >200 IDP camps (including decongested sites) is envisaged by this.

A 'cluster' is defined as a group of organisations and other stakeholders (e.g. UN agencies, NGOs) working together to address the needs in a 'sector' of humanitarian activity (for example, protection, health and water and sanitation). A 'cluster lead agency' is assigned to each 'sector'. UNICEF is, for example, currently the cluster lead for health in northern Uganda and UNHCR is the cluster lead for protection. The 'cluster lead agency' function exists at central and district level and interacts primarily with government, highlighting gaps in humanitarian assistance, enhancing the timeliness, predictability and quality of aid provision and ensuring a more effective response by mobilising agencies, organisations and NGOs to respond in a particular 'sector'. Furthermore, the 'cluster lead agency' is fully accountable for the sector it leads and answers to the Humanitarian Co-ordinator (HC).

So far, it has been noted that there is a distinct lack of coordination at camp level of the different services provided as well as the need to enhance the services provided themselves. Through the IASC Cluster Approach, gaps in the provision of humanitarian assistance can be filled and controls on service delivery at central, district and camp level, tightened. Most urgent would be the need to support the health, water and sanitation and protection sectors as well as the camp-management sub-sector.

This Decision will contribute to improving the quality, coordination and impact of service delivery to the IDP camps in northern Uganda. Field coordination at district level is much needed.


(1) IASC - Inter-Agency Standing Committee, background document no. 3; 24 April 2006.