WFP/Riccardo Gangale

The Situation

Uganda’s population has increased by nearly 15 million between 2002 and 2018. The country currently hosts the largest refugee caseload on the continent with more than 1.1 million refugees living in and around 10 rural settlements and urban areas. The country has received more than 1 million refugees from from South Sudan and the Democratic Republic of Congo since July 2016.

The discovery of significant oil reserves in Uganda is expected to boost future economic growth, along with improved agriculture and tourism through the second National Development Plan. However, although per capita income growth stands at about 2 percent, poverty is still widespread with more than 19 percent of the population living below the national poverty line.

The Karamoja subregion is Uganda’s poorest, with chronic food insecurity, poor access to basic social services such as education and health, environmental degradation, erratic rainfall and recurrent droughts. Despite improved security in the region, a combination of these factors has undermined the capacity of households to meet their basic nutritional needs and has led to high rates of stunting among children under five at 35 percent.

World Food Programme's Work

In Uganda, the World Food Programme (WFP) works in collaboration with the government on a number of programs:

  • Nutrition: To prevent further stunting and micronutrient deficiencies among children, WFP provides targeted food assistance to mothers and children in the first 1,000 days of life, as well as treatment for moderate acute malnutrition among children under age five.
  • School meals: WFP provides school meals to increase enrollment and attendance. Some schools also implement a homegrown approach, utilizing fresh and local ingredients sourced from local parents and farmers.
  • Agriculture and market support: WFP supports 125,000 small-scale farmers to reduce post-harvest loss and improve household income, leveraging infrastructure and skills previously developed to enhance productivity, food quality and market access.
  • Emergency assistance for refugees and food-insecure people: In the northeastern Karamoja region, women and households headed by women are disproportionately affected by poverty, food insecurity and chronic stresses. WFP works to ensure refugees and vulnerable groups here have access to food to meet their immediate needs and enable participation in self-reliance building programs. The U.N. agency provides food assistance to refugees in the form of food and cash vouchers; mother and child health and nutrition programs to address stunting, micronutrient deficiencies and moderate acute malnutrition; resilience building activities, including food assistance for assets using e-cards and in-kind food; and enhancing government emergency preparedness and response.
    • A new study found that humanitarian food assistance for refugees in Uganda creates significant economic benefits for the local economy, and even more so when it is in the form of cash.
    • WFP has introduced a nutritional supplement called Plumpy’Sup for malnourished refugee children immediately upon their arrival at border points in northern Uganda.

Articles About Uganda

WFP/Jonathan Eng

World Humanitarian Day 2018: Celebrate Heroes

Every year on August 19th, the world pays tribute to aid workers who risk their lives in humanitarian service. Meet five humanitarians with the World Food Programme (WFP) who are…

World food program usa

WFP/Claire Nevill

Lifting Lives in Uganda With The Promise of a School Meal

How one foundation in Kentucky is nourishing the dreams of children in Uganda.

World food program usa


Hacking Hunger Episode #20: The Forgotten Food Waste Crisis

Guest Bio: Brett Rierson Brett is Head of the World Food Programme’s Global Post-Harvest Knowledge and Operations Center. By working together with smallholder farmers in countries like Uganda and Burkina…

World food program usa


What You’re About to See Wouldn’t Be Possible Without You

On a recent, boiling hot day in May, I set out from Arua, Uganda for the South Sudanese border. I was accompanying a World Food Programme (WFP) emergency team —…

Erin Cochran

South Sudanese refugees in Ngomoromo.
WFP/James Akena

24 Hours on the Border of War

As conflict rages in neighboring South Sudan, Uganda’s leaders are putting food and land at the center of their efforts to welcome refugees seeking safety. Hear a firsthand account of…

Ash Kosiewicz

A mother smiles with drops of sweat on her brow
WFP/James Akena

Born Between Two Countries

After bringing two little girls into this world, I can’t imagine beginning their lives by being forced to flee our home and leave everything behind. But that’s what happened to…

Erin Cochran

Kanney Family

They Call Her “Mama Sue”

An unassuming dirt road in Entebbe, Uganda leads to a modern glass-and-cement warehouse where hope — in the form of emergency food relief — is being packaged. In the middle…

Aliya Karim

Abeer sits wearing a blue and white plaid dress alongside her two grandchildren in a tent filled with belongings of families who fled their homes in Pajok, South Sudan
WFP/James Akena

With Nothing But the Clothes On Her Back

Abeer literally ran for her life. From the sound of bullets in the near distance. From the fear that death was close. From the sense that this was it—now or…

Erin Cochran

Jombo sits in a wheelchair in a refugee settlement in Uganda
WFP USA/Erin Cochran

Behind the Lens in Uganda: An Unbelievable Journey to Safety

On this Behind the Lens recording, World Food Program USA’s Erin Cochran shares an incredible story she heard from a South Sudanese refugee named Jombo during her recent visit to the Imvepi…

Ash Kosiewicz

A family from South Sudan's Northern Bahr el-Ghazal state walks towards the border.
WFP/George Fominyen

Escaping Hunger And Violence In The World’s Youngest Nation

When Maria Nyamot Puok first heard gunfire near her home in the town of Bentiu in South Sudan, she knew fighters were headed her way. So she gathered her five…

M.J. Altman

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