UNICEF photo: children playing on playground equipment © UNICEF Uganda/2015/Proscovia Nakibuuka Refugee children playing at a Child Friendly Space (CFS) located in Nyumanzi Refugee Settlement in Adjumani district.


In 2016, UNICEF and partners plan for:

children under 5 years with SAM admitted to treatment programmes


people (including 65,400 children) provided with access to at least 15 litres of clean water per person per day


unaccompanied and/or separated children received family tracing and reunification support and placement in interim/foster care

2016 Requirements: US$14,400,000

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Total affected population: 900,000
Total affected children: 500,000

Total people to be reached in 2016: 350,000
Total children to be reached in 2016: 269,000

Uganda hosts more than 500,000 refugees and asylum-seekers. Of these, more than 26,000 Congolese and almost 16,000 Burundian refugees arrived in 2015, and more than 171,000 South Sudanese refugees have arrived since December 2013.1 Approximately 65 per cent of the refugees in Uganda are children under age 18 and more than half are adolescents, including unaccompanied minors and other vulnerable children affected by conflict and facing further protection risks. Primary health care services are overstretched due to the expanding population. At present, access to formal and non-formal post primary education remains a critical need. Community water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) services are strained and below Sphere standards, with limited WASH availability in certain schools. In some settlements affected by the influx of new refugees, severe acute malnutrition (SAM) rates range from 3 to 4.5 per cent.2 In addition, in 2015, the Ministry of Health reported outbreaks of malaria, typhoid and cholera. The El Niño weather phenomenon is expected to bring above average rains to Uganda in late 2015 and early 2016, increasing the vulnerability of children and adolescents due to displacement, disease outbreaks and the interruption of critical services such as health and education.

Humanitarian strategy

2016 Programme Targets


  • 12,000 children under 5 years with SAM admitted to treatment programmes
  • 100,000 children aged 6 to 59 months received vitamin A supplementation


  • 100,000 children immunized against polio
  • 121,000 children immunized against measles


  • 109,000 people (including 65,400 children) provided with access to at least 15 litres of clean water per person per day
  • 42,000 people provided with hand washing facilities

Child Protection

  • 60,000 children benefitted from child protection services
  • 5,500 unaccompanied and/or separated children received family tracing and reunification support and placement in interim/foster care


  • 16,200 children accessed early childhood development services
  • 35,000 adolescents accessed formal or informal education

In coordination with the Office of the Prime Minister of Uganda and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), UNICEF recognizes and addresses the urgent needs of newly displaced women, adolescents and children, while continuing to stabilize the situation of both existing refugees and host communities. UNICEF and partners support the Government’s goal of finding durable solutions for refugees to keep affected children alive, thriving, safe and learning. UNICEF will support skills-based education and mentoring for adolescents in collaboration with their communities. Refugees are being integrated into host communities and are benefitting from access to the same basic services and benefits as nationals. UNICEF supports the Refugee and Host Population Empowerment (ReHoPE) approach endorsed by the United Nations Country Team, and is mainstreaming gender, HIV and AIDS and conflict-sensitive approaches into emergency programing. UNICEF also employs a system strengthening approach, building the adaptive and response capacity of affected districts. UNICEF is supporting government emergency preparedness and response to mitigate the effects of El Niño, as well as disease outbreaks. UNICEF will continue to utilize Communication for Development (C4D) as a cross-cutting approach to achieving programme results in all sectors.

Results from 2015

As of 31 October 2015, UNICEF had received 16 per cent (US$5.08 million) of the US$36.1 million 2015 appeal, in addition to US$9 million carried forward from 2014. Resource gaps were particularly evident in the humanitarian response to Congolese refugees and disease outbreaks. UNICEF and partners contributed to ensuring a protective environment for children by strengthening national and local systems and building partners’ capacity on child protection in emergencies. Support was provided to early childhood and primary education and peacebuilding activities. UNICEF also supported the integration of conflict and disaster risk management into education sector policies and plans at central and district levels. Behaviour change communication initiatives and maternal nutrition counselling services were delivered in refugee settlements and host districts. Integrated management of acute malnutrition was successfully rolled out to treat severely malnourished children in affected districts. Two successful national polio immunization campaigns exceeded the targeted number of children and 48,000 women and children were reached with safe water in 2015. UNICEF also supported affected districts to contain a typhoid outbreak and has continued to collaborate with the Government to contain malaria and cholera outbreaks through hygiene social mobilization activities.

Funding requirements

In line with the country’s inter-agency 2016 regional response plans for Burundi and South Sudanese refugees, the national contingency plan for El Niño, and national disease outbreak preparedness arrangements, UNICEF is requesting US$14.4 million to meet the humanitarian needs of children in Uganda in 2016. Without additional funding, UNICEF and partners will not be able to keep affected children and adolescents alive, thriving, safe and learning. Funding will contribute to critical services for women, men and children displaced by the effects of El Niño, those facing the risk of disease outbreaks, and refugees and their host communities.

1 Government of Uganda, Office of the Prime Minister, Refugee Information Management System (RIMS), 2015,, accessed 9 December 2015.
2 Wamani, Henry and the World Food Programme, ‘Food and Nutrition Security Assessment among Refugee Settlements in Uganda’, WFP AME unit, January 2015,, accessed 9 December 2015.