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Food security for refugees and host communities in northern Uganda

The Lamwo district in northern Uganda is one of the poorest regions in the country. Nevertheless, the communities here take in refugees from South Sudan. Our project supports refugees and local communities in securing their food, increasing their income and strengthening social cohesion.

With organic farming, people's livelihoods are secured and the environment is protected. (Photo: AWO International)
With organic farming, people's livelihoods are secured and the environment is protected. (Photo: AWO International)

The Lamwo district in northern Uganda is heavily shaped by twenty years of civil war, which ended in 2006. When the villages were subsequently rebuilt, the region's natural resources were severely degraded. Far-reaching impacts on the ecosystem are the result, most notably are the land degradation and deforestation. In addition, altered climatic conditions are affecting the living conditions of the people in the region. These circumstances make the success of agricultural cultivation a challenge and access to sufficient and qualitative food is difficult for large parts of the population.

According to UNHCR, the district was home to 32,000 refugees from the neighboring country of South Sudan in 2018, as well as a large number of internally displaced persons. The political situation in South Sudan remains unstable, so more refugees continue to arrive in the country. Most of them are given a piece of land by the government to be able to live and farm there. The increasing utilisation of the farmland and the surrounding ecosystems is also the cause of many conflicts that arise between the migrants and the host communities.

Patriarchal structures are still very much in place in Uganda and violence against women is widespread. Forced sexual contact and sexual exploitation have far-reaching consequences: The number of unwanted pregnancies and abortions is high. In addition, many women find it difficult to access family planning and sexual/reproductive health services.

Together with our local partner organization UCOBAC, we support exchange of different people and communities and strenghten social cohesion. This promises long-term sustainable success.

Learning about food, agriculture and finance

Farmers learn together in groups how to cultivate kitchen gardens, they receive fruit trees and nutritious seeds. In addition to knowledge about balanced nutrition and climate-adapted cultivation technologies, the groups also discuss family planning, gender equality and energy-saving stoves. The members disseminate and share their new knowledge with their environment - so their family members and neighbors also benefit from the skills they have learned. The farmers' groups also function as savings associations and make it possible to take out small loans for sensible investments and thus create new income opportunities. The creation of new sources of income makes the families more resilient in the event of a social or economic crisis, such as the one caused by the corona pandemic.

Promoting social cohesion through exchange

A meeting of refugees and locals takes place in the so-called grassroots academy. The groups of farmers of the refugees or host communities send representatives who exchange ideas and network with each other at these meetings. The exchange promotes communication and mutual understanding and helps the participants to find solutions to conflicts together.

Strengthening women's empowerment and participation

The issue of women's empowerment plays a role in various social structures. It is addressed in the farmers' groups, but also by local health teams and multipliers. They provide information on sexual and reproductive health and are active in the fight against violence against women. The aim is to empower women to make decisions, to reduce ( sexual) violence and to give them access to family planning methods.

Organizational development of the partner organization UCOBAC

Within the framework of our project, the partner organization UCOBAC is supported in developing its capacities. For this purpose, trainings for the employees are carried out. A special emphasis is put on monitoring and evaluation of the projects.

Our project contributes to achieving these sustainable development goals, for example. For more information on the global sustainability agenda, please visit our Sustainable Development page.


Project Improving food and income security, climate resilience, and women empowerment for refugees and host communities in Palabek settlement, Lamwo district _Phase II
Place/Region Lamwo District, Palabek Ogili Refugee Camp + Palabek Gem
Partner Uganda Community Based Association for Women and Children Welfare (UCOBAC)
Target group Refugees and their host communities, a total of 4,616 beneficiaries
  • Establishment and strengthening of 12 farmers and savings groups
  • Development and establishment of a local multiplier group for agricultural cultivation
  • Distribution of seeds for the cultivation of nutrient-rich plants for kitchen gardens and fields as well as fruit trees and agricultural tree plantations
  • Providing knowledge and information materials on healthy eating
  • Establishment and strengthening 150 income-generating activities and training in business skills.
  • Introduction of energy-saving stoves as a contribution to climate protection
  • Establishment of a grassroots academy and holding community meetings on topics such as health , agriculture, etc.
  • Strengthening village health teams 
  • Conducting home visits by village health teams and referring them to health facilities for family planning and sexual / reproductive health services
  • Establishing male role models to promote the implementation of gender equality
  • Broadcasting radio shows on women's rights, family planning and gender-based violence
  • Training for the partner organization UCOBAC to strengthen the capacities of the organization
Duration January 2023 – December 2025
Budget 207,000 EUR
Sponsor BMZ SSF

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