Our work in Uganda

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Our work in Uganda

Concern Worldwide first came to Uganda in the early 1980s in response to famine in Karamoja. We returned again in 1990 in reaction to the HIV and AIDS pandemic and began working in four districts. Today, Concern is operating in ten of the poorest districts in Uganda in the Karamoja region, Acholi sub-region, and West Nile.

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Family group showing maternal nutrition requirements as part of the RWANU mother care group programme in Karamoj, Uganda. Photo taken by Concern Worldwide.

Eliminating poverty

Our work in Uganda focuses on eliminating extreme poverty. To do this, our programmes aim to support the poorest communities to build up assets, and improve returns from these assets, and address inequality.

Building resilience in Karamoja

Karamoja is Concern’s largest area of operation and is by far the poorest region of the country with 79% of its population living in poverty. Traditionally a pastoralist area, years of insecurity and cattle raiding has dramatically reduced the livestock in the area and left many families without a livelihood. Frequent droughts and poor crop production have made the situation worse. That’s why we're working with the population to help build their resilience. Our main focus areas are health, water and sanitation, nutrition and vocational skills training for youth.

Nakoroi from Kopoi Village, Nadunget, Karamoja, a member of a Water User Committee (WUC) cleaning the apron of as borehole as part of our Resilience through Wealth Agriculture and Nutrition (RWANU) programme. Photo by Ciara Passmore/Concern Worldwide.

Mother care groups

One important goal in Uganda is to improve health and reduce death rates among mothers, infants and young children. To do this, we’ve established hundreds of mother care groups to provide community-based support to thousands of mothers across Karamoja.

Through the care groups, mothers attend local meetings where they learn about issues such as feeding practices for children and maternal health and nutrition. Participating mums are also visited by ‘lead mothers’ once a month who share health information and general advice around illness and care seeking. The aim is to ensure that mothers are empowered with the knowledge and skills to care for their own health, and that of their children. 

Lotuzo Slyvia, (6 years) playing at her home in Moroto, Karamoja, Uganda while her father, Mark Lodum supports the Lead Mothers from the Mother Care Groups to build kitchen keyhole gardens Photo by Ciara Passmore/Concern Worldwide.

Rebuilding communities

Many of the people we work with in the Acholi sub-region were displaced from their homes during the insecurity caused by the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA).  They went to live in government-run camps for displaced people. Now that the area is secure again, they are able to return home. However many have returned to nothing with their villages destroyed and their land neglected. Concern has worked with communities providing seeds, tools and knowledge to farmers and now is working to improve access to water, sanitation and hygiene.

Christine Adupio is 3 years old and is currently on Concern’s nutrition programme for South Sudanese refugees in the West Nile region, Uganda. Photo taken by Alexia Webster/Panos Pictures for Concern Worldwide.

Refugees from South Sudan

Following fighting in the newly-formed South Sudan, many South Sudanese were forced to flee their homes, with many finding safety in West Nile. Concern responded to the large influx of refugees by setting up emergency nutrition treatment centres. Now Concern’s work strengthens the nutrition response for both refugees and the host community. Read Ayen’s story for a glimpse into experience of South Sudanese refugees in Uganda.

In depth

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