Uganda Refugee Response Monitoring: Settlement Fact Sheet: Maaji (June 2018)


Originally established in 1997 to receive refugees fleeing the Second Sudanese Civil War, Maaji settlement II and III were re-opened in 2015 to host new refugee arrivals from South Sudan. While the settlement is no longer receiving new arrivals, humanitarian partners continue to support efforts to improve standards and services for refugees and the host community alike.

Gaps & Challenges

The lack of schools and classrooms has reduced the quality of accessible education. The classrooms are overcrowded leading to high teacher per student ratios and poor performance by the students. Pre-primary schools are located far away, which means young children have to walk long distances. In addition to this the tuition fees for the secondary school in the settlement are too high for the parents to pay combined with the lack of vocational institutions means there are few opportunities for students after primary.

The health services available are significantly affected by the lack of health facilities, drugs available and lack of health workers.

This leads to heavy congestions in the health center and long waiting hours to receive the services. Access to medical attention is particularly difficult at night as the center is often closed.

The distribution of food to the refugees is delayed, inconsistent and insufficient. Due to delays in the registry of new arrivals, newborns or family reunification, families do not receive an adequate amount of food for their families as their names are not on the roster. The challenges in accessing food are aggravated by the lack of access to land for cultivation and the lack of farming inputs provided.

Refugees expressed facing a severe lack in employment opportunities deteriorated by a limited access to land for agricultural purposes. Earning a living is particularly difficult due to the lack of provision of income-generating activities. Additionally, refugees reported there are no village saving loans associations (VSLAs) in the settlement, which means they have limited access to capital to start small scale businesses.

Refugees have limited access to building materials preventing the renovation and rehabilitation of their shelters. The refugees reported the tarpaulins provided are of poor quality and get torn easily. PSNs such as the elderly, separated children, unaccompanied minors and single parents are especially affected by this issue due to the lack of support received to construct their shelters.

Strengths & Opportunities

Leadership and coordination efforts by refugee welfare committees (RWCs), the Office of the Prime Minister (OPM), the UNHCR and partners are strong. The RWCs are playing an important role in the response by taking responsibility for projects and connecting the UNHCR and the partner organizations to refugees. This has improved the overall response and ensured it remains targeted on the beneficiaries.

There is a peaceful coexistence between refugees and the host community. Nationals have benefited from 30% of the projects implemented for refugees in the settlement, which has contributed to this conducive relationship between the communities. The presence of refugees in the area has increased the efforts and desire by partners and the local government to implement livelihoods projects for both the host community and refugees.