Uganda: Food Assistance Fact Sheet - Updated December 11, 2018

from US Agency for International Development
Published on 11 Dec 2018

Since gaining independence in 1962, Uganda has provided asylum to people fleeing war and persecution in neighboring countries, especially South Sudan, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Somalia, Rwanda and Burundi.


• As of October 2018, approximately 1.1 million refugees and asylum-seekers were seeking shelter in Uganda—the largest refugee population on the African continent—including more than 780,000 South Sudanese and over 284,000 Congolese. An estimated 60 percent of these refugees are younger than 18 years of age.

• While refugees have access to land for growing crops, humanitarian assistance is a significant source of food for many refugee households. In the absence of food assistance, most refugees would face Crisis (IPC 3) levels of acute food insecurity, the Famine Early Warning Systems Network (FEWS NET) reports.*

• FEWS NET anticipates that most resident Ugandan households will face Minimal (IPC 1) levels of acute food insecurity until January 2019. However, the majority of poor households in Karamoja Region are primarily relying on markets for food, rather than their own production, and will likely face Stressed (IPC 2) conditions through at least January 2019, while about 10 percent of the population—primarily in Kotido and Kaabong districts—are in Crisis (IPC 3).

*The Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC) is a standardized tool that aims to classify the severity and magnitude of acute food insecurity. The IPC scale, which is comparable across countries, ranges from Minimal (IPC 1) to Famine (IPC 5).


• With support from USAID’s Office of Food for Peace (FFP), the UN World Food Program (WFP) distributes emergency food assistance sourced from U.S., local and regional markets to approximately 1.1 million refugees and asylum-seekers in northern and southwestern Uganda. Additionally, FFP funded WFP to implement a biometric verification process for its food distributions, improving transparency and accountability in the refugee response operation.

• In collaboration with Catholic Relief Services and Mercy Corps, FFP assists food-insecure Ugandans through multi-year development activities in Karamoja Region. FFP also partners with the AVSI Foundation to conduct a graduation activity reaching refugees and host community members in the southwestern district of Kamwenge. These interventions target over 700,000 individuals and aim to help extremely poor households to build new livelihoods, skills and confidence, working to “graduate” vulnerable households to increased access to food, better governance and gender equity, improved nutrition, and self-reliance and resilience. Additionally, FFP partners with Save the Children and Innovations for Poverty Action to evaluate the graduation activity, to ensure that FFP activities are impactful, results-driven and cost-effective.