Stopping Violence against Women in Refugee Settlements in Uganda

from American Refugee Committee International
Published on 24 Aug 2012

ARC Working with Local Communities to Help Refugees Who Fled to Uganda from Five African Countries

Kampala, Uganda (August 24, 2012)—Recent violence in Sudan and Democratic Republic of Congo has forced thousands of people to flee their homes and seek refuge in neighboring Uganda. In the Ugandan settlements where refugees live, violence against women is a growing concern.

The American Refugee Committee has been working with partners and refugee communities to address gender-based violence in the settlements since 2008. ARC recently received supplementary funding from Bureau of Population Refugee and Migration (BPRM) to support its efforts in working with communities to address the issue in four refugee settlements: Kyangwali, Kyaka, Nakivale and Rwamwanja.

“With the support of BPRM, we have been able to build a-drop-in center, which acts as a safe haven for survivors of gender-based violence who are at risk of further harm,” said Ralf Nico Thill, ARC’s Country Director for Uganda. “The safe house provides shelter to survivors during the period they need medical or legal attention—and its proximity to the health unit and police post makes it easy for survivors to access services timely and appropriately.”

ARC has helped more than 25,000 refugees who fled to Uganda from five countries, including Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Sudan, Rwanda, Burundi, and Kenya. More than 98% of the refugees living in the settlement are from DRC and Sudan.

The BPRM funding supports:

  • Training health workers on clinical management of rape survivors (CMRS),

  • Training partners at Kyangwali refugee settlement camp on caring for survivors of gender-based violence,

  • Comprehensive supplies of drugs to treat HIV/AIDS and sexually transmitted infections, and

  • Essential supplies for protection houses in three settlements.

ARC has worked to strengthen responses to gender-based violence by collaborating with partners to accomplish the following:

  • Train Refugee Welfare Committee and Community Activists on response and prevention of gender-based violence in the settlement;

  • Train officials from the Office of the Prime Minister, police, and health workers on gender-based violence, gender-sensitive mediation skills, and referral pathways;

  • Develop the Standard Operating Procedures in collaboration with other partners to guide the implementing partners in gender-based violence intervention (the Procedures have been agreed upon and signed by all partners and is in operation); and

  • Staff an ongoing 24-Hour GBV Hotline, which serves as a direct information point to survivors who need support from ARC psychosocial support officers.


American Refugee Committee (ARC) programs are built from the ground up. We work with people at the most vulnerable points in their lives, when they have lost everything to war or disaster. They let us know what they need most, and we work together to develop ways to help them get it. Our programs are as diverse as the people we serve, but they all work together for the same goal: to help people take back control of their lives. We have worked with refugees around the world for more than 30 years, and our 2,000 staff members help nearly 2.5 million people a year throughout Africa and Asia. We also actively partner with people and organizations to create important change in the world. ARC is building a 21st Century humanitarian organization rooted in co-creating with committed people to provide more meaningful solutions to humanitarian crises worldwide. We are based in Minneapolis, MN. To learn more, visit


Contact: Therese Gales, American Refugee Committee; +1 612 607 6494;