Uganda | ActionAid UK


ActionAid began work in Uganda, east Africa, in 1982. We work with more than one million marginalised people in 50 districts across the country, focusing on ending violence against women and girls, women’s economic empowerment, education, tax justice and ending hunger.

As of October 2018, 1,899 children in Uganda are sponsored through ActionAid. In the past five years, ActionAid Uganda has reached more than 126,300 people through its awareness-raising programmes.

Why we work in Uganda

In recent years, Uganda has transformed itself from a country with a troubled past to one of relative stability and prosperity.

A recent push for democracy has helped improve economic growth. Enormous progress has been made in several key areas. Health care is free in state-run clinics and more communities have access to safe drinking water.

The World Bank’s latest Uganda poverty assessment found that the proportion of the population living below the poverty line has declined to less than 20% in recent years.1

However, poverty remains deep-rooted in Uganda, particularly in rural areas, and the country is still lagging behind in terms of sanitation, access to electricity, child malnutrition and education.

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    Nearly half of girls are married before their 18th birthday.2
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    More than half of women aged 15-49 have experienced physical violence.3
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    Nearly half of women who have ever been married are afraid of their current/most recent spouse or partner.4
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Violence against women is common, with three out of five women experiencing gender-based violence in their lifetime.5 Some women don’t know that there are laws to protect them from abuse.

When their husband or relative dies, many women in Uganda face a fierce battle to inherit the land which is rightfully theirs.

While women hold a third of senior positions in parliament,6  unpaid care work remains a challenge for women in Uganda. Women in Uganda work an average of 15 hours a day, while men work between eight and 10 hours a day. 7

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What we do in Uganda

Ending violence against women and girls

In Uganda, we run 10 shelters which provide safe, comforting temporary accommodation for survivors of violence.

At our shelters, women and girls can get counselling, first aid and referrals to medical centres for further treatment. The shelters also provide legal support so that survivors can access justice. 

So far, these shelters have supported over 13,000 people in the past five years.

Fighting for women and girls’ rights

Through our local women’s networks, ActionAid helps women learn about their rights and develop skills such as sewing, soap-making and basket-weaving.

This helps women earn an income, gain financial independence from their male family members and put themselves in a stronger position to stand up to or leave an abusive partner.

In the long term, we are committed to preventing further violence. We work with cultural and religious leaders to change attitudes, and with men of all ages to build awareness and agreement that violence against women and girls is not acceptable.

Our outreach work also involves schools, community radio projects and mobile legal aid clinics which provide support to women and girls living in remote rural areas.

Supporting quality education

The dilapidated school buildings and huge class sizes at Soroti Demonstration school meant that children’s education was suffering.

So when community monitors – trained by ActionAid to lobby the local government for better quality education – secured money for the renovation of classrooms, the community rejoiced.

Now students can learn in purpose-built classrooms with enough desks for everyone.

Deputy Head Teacher Okiria Michael has seen for himself the impact of ActionAid’s assistance.

“It is not that ActionAid told us to petition. ActionAid told us about our rights. Then our people rose up in big numbers because we realised that we needed collective action to attain that which is rightfully ours. Now school enrolment has gone up – and so has our academic performance.”

Tax justice for Uganda

Every year, multinational companies and rich nations dodge billions of pounds of tax in developing countries. This lost revenue could pay for much-needed essential services like schools and hospitals.

hat’s why, in June 2016, ActionAid and our partners in the global Tax Justice Network collected over three million signatures in a move to stop MPs from dodging income tax.

According to Harriet Gimbo, Country Director of ActionAid Uganda, the campaign registered overwhelming support by citizens in her country. “In just one week, 2,821,909 Ugandan citizens from 88 districts signed the petition,” she says.


Emma Scullion/ActionAid Karin Schermbrucker/ActionAid