UNICEF Photo: Young children are playing with toys received from UNICEF in Rwamwanja refugee camp located in Kamwenge District, Western Uganda. The camp is home to over 35000 refugees, most of them from Democratic Republic of Congo. © UNICEF/UGDA201300187/Michele Sibiloni Young children are playing with toys received from UNICEF in Rwamwanja refugee camp located in Kamwenge District, Western Uganda. The camp is home to over 35000 refugees, most of them from Democratic Republic of Congo.


UNICEF requires an additional US$21.4 million to respond to the refugee influx from the South Sudan crisis, bringing its overall 2014 requirements to US$37.4 million.

South Sudan Conflict: Sub-regional Funding Priorities [PDF]

Inter-Agency Appeal for the South Sudanese Refugee Emergency (January - December 2014)

In 2014, UNICEF and partners plan for:

children under 5 treated for malnutrition


people have access to safe water


school-aged children supported with access to emergency education

2014 Requirements: US$37,400,000

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Total affected population: 2.5 million
Total affected children (under 18): 1.5 million

Total people to be reached in 2014: 549,088
Total children to be reached in 2014: 473,085

Since the outbreak of violence in South Sudan in December 2013, an estimated 86,000 South Sudanese refugees have arrived in Uganda. Current planning assumptions indicate that 100,000 South Sudanese refugees may arrive by the end of 2014, which will result in a total caseload in Uganda of 300,000 registered refugees, asylum seekers and displaced people. These refugees include women, child survivors of sexual violence, and separated and unaccompanied children in urgent need of protection. In 2013, the country also responded to an influx of more than 100,000 people from DRC, as well as population movements from neighbouring South Sudan, extensive flooding in the border regions between western DRC and Uganda, peace-building and recovery needs in the Acholi sub-region, and significant nutrition, health, water and sanitation concerns in Karamoja, the most underdeveloped and vulnerable part of the country. In addition, Tanzania repatriated economic migrants from neighbouring countries, including 5,000 Ugandans who returned through the south-western part of the country.1 The Karamoja sub-region is particularly vulnerable to climatic, economic and conflict-related shocks. The impacts on children include abduction, killing and maiming as part of cattle raiding. Migration to urban centres, including Kampala, exposes children to commercial sexual exploitation and abuse. Over 80 per cent of Karamajong2 live below the poverty line and the region lags behind the rest of the country on all socio-economic indicators. The Human Poverty Index (HPI) in Karamoja is above 53 per cent (compared to the 28.8 per cent national average),3 literacy levels are as low as 12 per cent, and malnutrition levels are regularly higher than 10 per cent.4 The prevalence of global acute malnutrition (GAM) in the semi-arid Karamoja region is stagnating at 12.5 per cent, with severe acute malnutrition (SAM) at 3.0 per cent. Malnutrition is one of the main causes of morbidity and mortality among children under 5. The SAM rate is also 3 per cent in some Congolese settlements (Bundibugyo, Rwamwanja and Hoima).5 Planning for recurrent natural hazards must be systematically incorporated into development strategies. Efforts aimed at proactively managing and reducing risks and building the resilience of vulnerable households and communities to recurrent shocks are desperately needed.

Humanitarian strategy

2014 programme targets

Nutrition and health

  • 21,500 children under 5 (4,000 Congolese refugees and host community members, 5,000 South Sudanese refugee children and 12,500 in Karamoja) treated for malnutrition
  • 183,220 children (aged 6 months to 14 years) targeted for vitamin A supplementation and deworming
  • 9,868 pregnant women (refugee and host community) targeted for iron/folate supplementation
  • In Karamoja, 54,000 breastfeeding mothers targeted for blanket food supplementation


  • 118,000 people have access to safe water
  • 22,000 schoolchildren will benefit from improved water and sanitation facilities and practice good hygiene behavior
  • 106,000 people will have access to adequate sanitation and practice good hygiene behavior

Child Protection

  • 5,500 affected refugee and host community children (2,500 Congolese and 3,000 South Sudanese) with access to child-friendly spaces
  • 17,000 refugee and affected populations (7,000 Congolese and 10,000 South Sudanese) provided with psychosocial support services and recreational kits in both transit camps and settlements
  • 2,300 child survivors of violence in Karamoja provided with critical services


  • 47,450 school-aged children supported with access to emergency education and 16,250 children provided with early childhood development services

UNICEF is part of the overall emergency response effort coordinated by the Office of the Prime Minister of Uganda. UNICEF works closely with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and the World Food Programme (WFP) to respond to the needs of refugees mainly from DRC and South Sudan, and affected Ugandan communities in western Uganda. UNICEF also works with the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and WFP to support a strategy for enhancing resilience in Karamoja. UNICEF’s primary focus is on implementing an integrated approach to the prevention and management of malnutrition, which includes approaches to both health and nutrition. UNICEF’s role is to provide the needed nutrition response through technical, material and financial support to national and district governments, UNHCR and implementing partners. UNICEF will also continue to provide safe and child-friendly spaces and activities for children and critical services to child survivors of sexual violence. UNICEF will continue to build on a variety of humanitarian and development innovations to improve the efficiency of its humanitarian response activities. In particular, the rapid family tracing and reunification mobile phone-based programme is being implemented as a way of tracing separated and unaccompanied minors. U-Report, a free short message service for refugees to voice their opinions and concerns, has been implemented to report deaths, the breakdown of equipment, sexual and gender-based violence, and corporal punishment, as well as to ensure that the voices of displaced populations are heard and incorporated into the national dialogue. With the introduction of efficient microorganisms, latrines in the refugee-affected areas have improved capacity to accommodate increased usage. UNICEF is also supporting the Government of Uganda to take a leadership role on such innovations, to mainstream these approaches into the national emergency response approach.

Results from 2013

UNICEF appealed for US$16,272,320 for 2013, and as of the end of October 2013, a total of US$9,539,727, or 59 per cent of requirements, had been received in contributions. In 2013, UNICEF’s humanitarian programme focused on assisting Congolese refugees through a series of programmes aimed at addressing acute needs while facilitating smooth integration into Ugandan communities and social services. In close partnership and coordination with UNHCR, UNICEF Uganda supported 80,000 refugee and host community women with preventive nutrition and provided education and counselling on optimal maternal and infant and young child feeding practices. Vitamin A supplementation and deworming were provided to 80,000 children (aged 6 months to 14 years). In Karamoja, 240,700 mothers and caregivers of children under 5 were educated, counselled and supported on maternal and infant and young child feeding practices and concerns. In addition, 46,000 refugees benefitted from access to safe water and hygiene messaging, and 121,114 schoolchildren benefitted from odourless, clean, fly-free and hygienic latrines with the application of effective microorganisms. Finally, 15,863 school-aged children were supported with access to emergency education.

Results through 30 September 2013

Funding requirements

Within the framework of Inter-Agency Appeal for South Sudanese Refugee Emergency, the appeal for refugees from the Eastern DRC and the inter-agency resilience strategy, UNICEF is requesting US$37,400,000 to meet the time critical humanitarian needs of new refugees, including the older humanitarian caseload of which 80 per cent are children and women. Without additional funding, UNICEF will not be able to scale up its response to the humanitarian needs of South Sudanese refugees, support the national response to the country’s continuing nutrition crisis in Karamoja, and provide critical services to refugees and affected Ugandan communities, including WASH and health services to those adversely affected and/or displaced by flooding. Basic supplies for primary education are also urgently needed to uphold children’s right to education, especially with the large displaced populations and pastoralist Karamajong communities.

1 United Nations Uganda, International Organization for Migration, United Nations Children’s Fund, United Nations Human Rights Office of the High Commissioner, United Nations Development Programme, World Food Programme, ‘Uganda Flash Appeal’,, accessed 26 December, 2013.
2 United Nations Development Programme, ‘Human Development Report 2013 The Rise of the South: Human Progress in a Diverse World’, UNDP, New York, 2012.
3 Reported by the Uganda Bureau of Statistics.
4 Reported in UNICEF Nutrition Surveys from 2013.
5 Ibid.