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UNICEF photo: a child stands against a wall, her height being measured © UNICEF/UNI185952/Nakibuuka A young South Sudanese refugee girl has her height taken at Odoubou Health Centre II, located in Rhino refugee camp, Arua District, during the nutrition clinic.


In 2017, UNICEF and partners plan for:

children aged 6 months to 15 years vaccinated against measles


people accessing safe water for drinking, cooking and personal hygiene


children aged 6 to 59 months receiving vitamin A supplementation

2017 Requirements: US$52,870,000

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Total people in need: 2.4 million1
Total children (<18) in need: 1.5 million

Total people to be reached in 2017: 1.5 million2
Total children to be reached in 2017: 1 million

Uganda is hosting more than 865,000 refugees and asylum seekers, most of whom have fled crises in Burundi, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and South Sudan.3 Food security assessments signal a potential crisis and a rise in malnutrition in Karamoja by February 2017.4 A cholera outbreak that began in October 2015 has continued, with a case fatality rate of 2.9 per cent. More than 1 million people are at risk of disease outbreaks. The large and rapid refugee influx has severely strained social services, including health, education, water and sanitation, especially the settlements/transit centres hosting South Sudanese refugees. Based on current analysis, up to 380,000 more people may flee to Uganda in 2017 due to continued violence and civil unrest. Children make up 58 per cent of the refugee population, which includes unaccompanied and separated children (UASC) and other vulnerable groups. Adolescent refugees lack protection, support with menstruation management and reproductive health services, as well as formal learning.5 Nutrition screening of new arrivals from South Sudan indicates severe acute malnutrition (SAM) and moderate acute malnutrition rates among children under 5 at 1.07 and 2 per cent, respectively.

Humanitarian strategy

2017 programme targets


  • 31,000 children under 5 admitted for SAM treatment6
  • 446,395 children aged 6 to 59 months receiving vitamin A supplementation
  • 345,000 pregnant women receiving folic acid


  • 1,023,000 children aged 6 months to 15 years vaccinated against measles


  • 530,000 people accessing safe water for drinking, cooking and personal hygiene
  • 318,000 people with access to appropriate sanitation facilities

Child protection

  • 32,640 UASC receiving appropriate alternative care services


  • 179,800 children and adolescents accessing formal or informal education7


  • 9,000 children/adolescents requiring continuation of antiretroviral treatment (ART)

UNICEF works with the Government and partners to provide humanitarian support to over-stretched critical services for women, children and adolescents in Uganda, in line with longer-term, risk-informed efforts to build self-reliance within the Refugee and Host Population Empowerment framework. UNICEF provides technical guidance, equipment and supplies to high-risk and refugee-hosting districts to support the expansion of routine social services for health, nutrition, water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH), education and child protection. UNICEF employs a systems strengthening approach, building the adaptive and response capacity of districts affected by natural hazards, and supports government emergency preparedness and response efforts to mitigate the effects of disease outbreaks. Communication for Development is used as a cross-cutting approach to achieving programme results in all sectors. Accountability to affected populations, gender, HIV/AIDS and conflict-sensitive approaches are integrated into interventions.

Results from 2016

As of 31 October 2016, UNICEF had received US$8.2 million against the US$22.7 million appeal (36 per cent funded).8 Where 2016 targets were surpassed, UNICEF reprogrammed regular resources to temporarily meet the needs of existing refugees and new arrivals.9 With available funding, UNICEF and partners assisted the Government to provide more than 66,500 refugee and host community children with child protection services. Nearly 38,000 refugee and host community children accessed early childhood development services. Micronutrient supplementation and maternal nutrition counselling was provided in affected districts to complement nutrition support to children. In addition, more than 209,055 children received vitamin A supplementation in the refugee districts of Arua, Adjumani, Kiryandongo, Yumbe, Koboko, Isingiro and Kyegegwa. UNICEF-supported immunization campaigns reached more than 168,700 children. Communities were mobilized to mitigate malaria and cholera transmission and received health supplies and health information. Risk-informed development support to refugee-hosting districts increased the coverage of critical social services for children. Ongoing advocacy and resource mobilization has closed critical gaps in service provision for the newest refugee arrivals. Due to limited funding for the education sector, only 35,000 adolescents, or 32 per cent of those targeted, were supported with access to formal or informal education.

Funding requirements

In line with the inter-agency 2017 regional refugee response plans (RRRPs) for Burundi and South Sudan, and the national response plan for Congolese refugees, as well as disease outbreak preparedness arrangements, UNICEF is requesting US$52.87 million for 2017 to meet the humanitarian needs of affected children.10 Funding support will provide infrastructure, equipment and supplies and strengthen overwhelmed basic services in health, WASH, education and child protection, in particular to provide much needed support to UASC. The response will be critical to containing Uganda's continuing nutrition crisis and disease outbreaks.

1 Total people/children in need include current and projected refugee populations from Burundi, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and South Sudan, as well as host populations (1.28 million people/816,000 children) in line with the RRRPs, and people/children at risk of natural hazards, such as disease outbreaks and nutritional crisis (1.1 million people/706,000 children).
2 Total people/children to be reached includes current and projected refugee populations from Burundi, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and South Sudan, as well as affected host populations (828,750 people/530,400 children) in line with the RRRPs, as well as people/children at risk of natural hazards such as disease outbreaks and nutritional crisis (716,950 people/458,848 children).
3 In 2017, the planning figure is 1.3 million affected refugee and host communities, from 2017 RRRPs (South Sudan, Burundi and the national response plan for Congolese returns). Total refugees hosted by Uganda as of December 2016 is 865,385 (UNHCR and Office of Personnel Management (OPM), 14 December 2016).
4 Famine Early Warnings System Network, 'October 2016 to May 2016 Outlook Report', 2016.
5 United Nations Children's Fund and IPSOS, 'Educational needs assessment of adolescent boys and girls in emergency and refugee contexts Uganda', 2016.
6 UNICEF is targeting a total of 31,000 children under 5 for SAM treatment, which includes 19,514 children from Karamoja Region and 11,486 refugee children. An ongoing food security and nutrition assessment will validate SAM targets as it will reach all refugee settlements and Karamoja Region. Any adjustments to the nutrition/SAM targets will be revised later in 2017 if required and reflected in a revised Humanitarian Action for Children appeal for Uganda.
7 UNICEF’s target for UASC in 2017 is in line with the number of UASC expected as per RRRPs for Burundi, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and South Sudan. This includes the existing caseload of UASC from South Sudan.
8 Available funds included funding received against the current appeal of US$6 million and the US$2.2 million carried forward from the previous year.
9 In addition to reprogramming RR, UNICEF nutrition, health and child protection interventions had between 60-70 per cent funding gaps but achieved over 70 per cent of the results in many activities because UNICEF has district-wide regular/development programming, which often supported system-wide improvements and flexibility to cope with the increasing influx of refugees when needed.
10 UNICEF’s Humanitarian Action for Children requirements in 2017 are in line with UNICEF’s requirements in three RRRPs in 2017 totalling US$49.65 million (South Sudan: US$35.7 million; Burundi: US$2.1 million; the Democratic Republic of the Congo: US$11.85 million) and US$3.2 million to prepare for and respond to disease outbreaks and potential drought.