UNICEF Humanitarian action: Uganda donor update 16 Jun 2005

Currently 1.4 million internally displaced persons (IDPs) (80% children and women)

37 Early Childhood Development (ECD) sites for 12,000 children, installation of 8 motorised clean-water delivery systems in IDP camps, shelter materials for 40,000 "night commuters" and other assistance provided with UNICEF support in 2005

UNICEF portion of 2005 UN Consolidated Appeal (CAP) raised from US$28 million to US$40 million, with immediate needs in education, emergency shelter, water and sanitation


Armed conflict between the Uganda People's Defense Force

(UPDF) and the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA), particularly since the resumption of major hostilities three years ago, has created a severe humanitarian crisis in northern Uganda.

In the past three years, the number of IDPs is estimated to have risen from 550,000 to 1.4 million, 80 per cent of whom are children and women. The LRA has abducted approximately 12,000 children since June 2002, forcing them into combat and sexual servitude. Each night, the threat of LRA attacks and abductions drives an estimated 40,000 children in Gulu, Kitgum and Pader Districts to abandon their village homes for the relative shelter of urban centres.

Against limited improvements in security and humanitarian access, renewed LRA violence against civilians in the past two months (several IDP camps in Gulu and Kitgum were attacked in April/May 2005) has exacerbated a situation of heightened vulnerability of children, massive displacement and chronic disruption of services.


UNICEF's accelerated humanitarian response in northern Uganda is conducted in coordination with the local governments of the conflict-affected districts (Gulu, Kitgum, Pader, Lira, Apac, Soroti, Katakwi and Kaberamaido), as well as with WFP, UN OCHA and NGO implementing partners.

Right to Health

Squalid and overcrowded conditions in the IDP camps have led to cholera outbreaks in Gulu and Kitgum. Following an outbreak of 277 cases, including 10 deaths, in Pabbo IDP camp in October 2004 (successfully controlled), 77 cases were reported in April 2005 in Pabbo and neighbouring Jengari and Parabongo camps. Global and Severe Malnutrition rates (GAM/SAM) for under-5 children are estimated to range between 2-6 per cent and 0.5-3 per cent, respectively. Therapeutic Feeding Centres (TFC) are reporting a general improvement in cure rates of 76-84 per cent (75 per cent is acceptable) and death rates of 9-11 per cent (<10 per cent is acceptable). HIV prevalence rates in the northern sub-regions range between 4-10 per cent for women and 4-8 per cent for men, with women aged 20 to 49 (7-12 per cent) being the worst affected.

In 2005, the numbers of malaria cases reported in health units in Gulu have decreased by 26 per cent and mothers attending ante-natal clinics (ANC) have increased by 45 per cent.

Key activities supported by UNICEF and its partners include the implementation of "Child Days" (national acceleration of Vitamin A supplementation, de-worming, tetanus immunizations and other routine activities) in the conflict-affected districts; polio Sub-National Immunization Days Polio Sub-National Immunization Days (SNIDs) Photo: © UNICEF UGANDA/2005/HYUN (SNIDs) in Gulu, Kitgum, Pader, Lira, Apac and Katakwi to reach 1.45 million children; training of 2,300 community-based health volunteers (Community Resource Persons, CORPS) in home-based care and provision of first-line treatment drugs to serve 300,000 under-5 children; provision of tents and hygiene materials for cholera treatment in Pabbo IDP camp to benefit approximately 48,000 children and women; distribution of 5,000 clean-delivery kits and 6,000 menstruation management kits; provision of therapeutic milk to 11 TFCs to benefit more than 8,000 severely malnourished children; distribution of more than 5,000 Insecticide Treated Nets (ITN) for distribution to pregnant women attending ANCs; and deployment of 3 UNICEF health-nutrition professional staff to the Gulu, Kitgum, Pader and Lira Zonal Offices.

Right to Education

On average nationally, only 2 per cent of children aged 3-5 have access to Early Childhood Development (ECD) sites. An estimated 25 per cent of children of primary school age are out of school. 60 per cent of the 1,229 primary schools in Gulu, Kitgum, Pader, Lira and Apac are displaced. Factors contributing to poor quality of education include weak accountability and monitoring systems, overcrowding in classrooms, non-availability of teaching-learning materials, limited water and sanitation facilities, and high rates of teacher absenteeism.

Key activities supported by UNICEF and its partners include ECD facilitation and caregiver training for 400 community members and district officials from Gulu, Kitgum and Lira to serve 12,000 children in 37 ECD sites in 11 IDP camps (established since 2004); construction of 64 classrooms in 8 schools in Gulu to serve approximately 6,900 children; establishment of 13 temporary learning centres in Pader and 32 learning centres in Lira to serve approximately 46,000 children; provision of blackboards and other scholastic materials to 600 children and 150 teachers in Soroti and Kaberamaido; Child-Friendly Concept and psychosocial counseling skills training for 125 teachers and district officials to serve 6,000 children; construction of 330 pit latrines in schools in Lira (increasing capacity by 425 per cent) and distribution of 60 mobile latrine units to schools in Pader; and deployment of a UN Volunteer (UNV), specializing in education/emergency to the Gulu Zonal Office.

Right to Water

Shortfalls are most acute in camps whose populations exceed 10,000, as requirements surpass the production capacity of available point sources. Moderate supplies (of 10-15 litres per person per day) are available in the smaller, older camps which about 25 per cent of the IDP population in Gulu and Kitgum. Most displaced families use unsafe water sources. The situation of sanitation facilities is no better. Against the Sphere Standards of 1 latrine stance for 20 persons, and the Ugandan school standard of 1 stance for 40 pupils, current coverage ranges from 15 per cent in Kitgum, to 19 per cent in the "night commuter" shelter sites in Gulu and to 43 per cent in the registered camps in Gulu (64 per cent in schools). Urgent issues in the sanitation sector include the high rates at which latrines fill up and the scarcity of land to build new latrines.

In 2005, the scaling-up of powered reticulated supply systems (motorised schemes) has continued, as have the drilling and rehabilitation of conventional point sources and boreholes. Latrine construction kits will be distributed this year in the camps to be used during the weekly 'sanitation days.' Water and sanitation interventions have been critical in stemming the cases of cholera in Gulu.

Key activities supported by UNICEF and its partners include the supply of mobile latrine units to 231 temporary learning centres; powering/reticulating 8 deep-wells in IDP camps with the highest populations and the start of preparatory work on an additional 25 schemes; drilling of 44 new boreholes in 21 camps to serve; distribution of pit-latrine digging kits to support construction of household pit latrines; formation of water and sanitation committees to promote good hygiene and sanitation practices; and sustaining operation and maintenance of water supply systems in 23 IDP camps.

Right to Protection

Following a period of relative decline in numbers of LRA attacks/abductions and "night commuters" (November 2004-February 2005), the period since February has witnessed an intensification of LRA hostilities against civilians and a peak in "night commuters" numbers to 41,000. An estimated 100 to 200 children were abducted by the LRA but have since returned from captivity. Assessments in Gulu indicate that as many as 25 per cent of child "night commuters" are leaving their homes nightly due to family issues, rather than the specific fear of the LRA. High-risk coping mechanisms to secure livelihoods and personal security remain common, including transactional sex with UPDF soldiers, traders and other persons with income. There have been reports that hundreds of boys have been voluntarily recruited into the ranks of the Local Defense Unit (LDU) militia which operate under the UPDF. A recent evaluation at the Gulu Support the Children Organisation (GUSCO) reception centre for formerly abducted children (FAC) found that only 30 per cent of the children passing through the centre have received comprehensive follow-up and monitoring, in addition to the basic healthcare and psychosocial counseling services available. As many as 70 per cent of FACs are no longer living with their parents.

Progress in improving protection coordination and capacity has been noticeable (including the establishment of monitoring systems to address operational issues), and capacity for further promotion and protection of human rights is set to expand with the deployment of an additional UNICEF child protection officer in the conflict-affected districts. Numerous international NGOs have also established child protection programmes; however, capacity as a whole remains a concern, with an urgent need for additional agencies to be involved in the sector if current programming is to be significantly expanded.

Key activities supported by UNICEF and its partners include the reunification of more than 100 formerly abducted children with their families; provision of emergency shelter and relief items to benefit 40,000 child "night commuters" (support will partially shift focus where possible to address problems in the children's home villages); commencement of a basic skills and income-generation training programme for adolescents in Kitgum and Pader (programme is scheduled for expansion to Gulu and Lira) to reach 20,000 adolescents; commencement of a project to address sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV) issues in 17 IDP camps in Lira, directly targeting 4,000 women and men; and deployment of two additional international child protection officers (one with an SGBV issues background) and related staff in the Zonal Offices

Right to Shelter

A March 2005 interagency assessment in Lira found that while a substantial portion of displaced households had sufficient emergency shelter and household items (non-food items or NFI) for basic needs, the extremely vulnerable families - approximately 20 per cent of the IDP population, or some 14,000 households - did not have enough. Kitgum, Pader and Lira have witnessed some unplanned movements of families out of the municipal camps to those in the sub-counties where security is assured by UPDF units, and while this may have led to increased access to family lands for some IDPs, risks such as fires, epidemics and violence against IDPs outside the camps remain. The limited availability of fuel and construction materials is a principle cause of IDPs taking risks in venturing away from main camp locations.

Agency-wide responses to cholera and fire outbreaks - including fires during the recent dry season which affected more than 9,500 households (48,000 people) in 15 camps in Gulu and 4 camps in Lira - have been well coordinated; however, camp planning/management interventions have not been successful in curbing the occurrence of such emergencies.

Key activities supported by UNICEF and its partners include the distribution of NFIs to 9,500 households affected by fire outbreaks, and in response to the ongoing de-congestion of Pabbo IDP camp, in Gulu; and provision of appropriate NFI supplies to various child "night commuter" shelter sites to serve 40,000 children, 8 reception centres for FACs to serve more than 2,500 children and to TFCs to serve 4,000 children.

Interagency Collaboration

UNICEF is grateful for the close collaboration of District Local Governments, UN sister agencies and the following implementing partners: African Medical Research Foundation (AMREF), Associazione Volontari per il Servizio Internazionale (AVSI), Caritas, Charity for Peace, Christian Children's Fund (CCF), Concerned Parents Association (CPA), Cooperazione Internazionale (COOPI), Gulu Support the Children Organisation (GUSCO), Human Rights Focus (HURIFO), Institute of Teacher Education Kyambogo (ITEK), International Rescue Committee (IRC), Kalongo Hospital, Kitgum Concerned Women's Association (KICWA), Lacor Hospital Gulu, Medair, Mother's Union, Noah's Ark, Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC), Rachele Centre, Save the Children in Uganda, St. Joseph's Hospital Kitgum, Transcultural Psychosocial Organisation (TPO), The Kids League (TKL) and World Vision.

Implementation Constraints

A major challenge to emergency response and protection interventions is the restricted humanitarian access due to insecurity. This limits, complicates and slows emergency interventions, and restricts staff movement outside the main towns. It is estimated that social service providers and humanitarian workers have access to only 30 per cent of the 200 IDP camps on a regular basis without armed military escorts.

Measures by UNICEF to address such constraints have included the deployment of armour-plated vehicles in Gulu and Kitgum for use by all humanitarian agencies.


In May 2005, UNICEF reviewed its requirements within the Interagency Consolidated Appeals Process, based on contributions thus far received and latest developments in the humanitarian situation. The table below indicates the newly revised requirements for activities until the end of 2005.

Table 1: Summary of UNICEF Financial Needs for 2005
(as at June 2005)
Health and Nutrition
Water and Environmental Sanitation
Child Protection
Family Shelter and Non-Food Items
Coordination and Support Services

US$18 million is required immediately to implement interventions to provide 500,000 children in the IDP camps with basic education services; 1.4 million IDPs with clean water and sanitation services; 400,000 IDPs with emergency shelter and household items; and to ensure the reintegration in safety and dignity of formerly abducted children.

Table 2: Critical Gap in Funding
(as at June 2005)
Health and Nutrition
Water and Environmental Sanitation
Child Protection
Family Shelter and Non-food Items
Coordination and Support Services

The following table indicates the contributions received, by donor, for the Appeal. UNICEF is grateful for the generous contributions which continue to assist ongoing humanitarian interventions for the most vulnerable children and women in Uganda.

Table 3: Funds Received for 2005 Appeal by Donor
(at at June 2005)
Contribution (US$)
Education; Water and Sanitation
Canada (CIDA/IHA)
Child Protection
South Africa

Japan remains the largest donor for UNICEF-Uganda, with a combined contribution of US$ 9.2 million against the CAP 2005. A contribution of US$ 259,400 from Finland is pending.

MAP - Uganda: Conflict affected districts (as of 16 Jun 2005)

Details of the UNICEF Uganda Emergency Programme can be obtained from:

Martin Mogwanja
UNICEF Representative Kampala
Tel: + 256 41 236 478
Fax: + 256 41 235 660

Olivier Degreef
Tel: + 41 22 909 5655
Fax: + 41 22 909 5902

Gary Stahl
Tel: + 1 212 326 7009
Fax: + 1 212 326 7165


(1) The total includes a maximum recovery rate of 12%. The actual recovery rate on individual contributions will be calculated in accordance with the Executive Board Decision 2003/9 of 5 June 2003.