Uganda | ActionAid UK


ActionAid began work in Uganda in 1982. We work with over one million marginalised people in 50 districts across the country, focusing on women’s rights, tax justice, education and ending hunger. 

1,574 children in Uganda are sponsored through ActionAid as of January 2017.  

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 to establish stability and 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.

However poverty remains deep-rooted in Uganda’s rural areas which are home to 84% of Ugandans.1 One in three people in Uganda lives on less than $1.25 a day and many families don’t get enough to eat.

  • 1. “Enabling Poor People to Overcome Poverty in Uganda” (PDF). International Fund for Agricultural Development. Retrieved 26 August 2015.
  • 38
    38% of people live below the poverty line of less than $1.25 per day.
  • 40
    40% of girls are married before their 18th birthday.
  • 20
    Only 20% of girls go to secondary school.

While women hold a third of senior positions in parliament, unpaid care work remains a challenge for women in Uganda, who work an average of 15 hours a day, while men work between 8 and 10 hours a day.1

Violence against women is common, with over half of women experiencing physical violence in their lifetime.2 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. According to government data, 97% of women in Uganda have access to land; however, in practice, only 8% of women own land and 7% have property rights.3

  • 1. “From Periphery to Center: A Strategic Country Gender Assessment” (PDF). World Bank. Retrieved 10 February 2012.
  • 2.
  • 3. FAO. Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW). 2000. general-introduction/en/?country_iso3=UGA

Beatrice Chebet At Home

43-year-old Beatrice Chebet at work cultivating her land. She makes a living through small scale farming.

Photo: Kibuuka Mukisa Oscar/ActionAid

What we do in Uganda

Fighting for women’s rights

Through women’s groups, ActionAid trains women in their rights. With this support and knowledge, women are able to protect their land rights, and challenge violence against women which is punishable by law.

ActionAid supports women’s economic empowerment through training women how to farm sustainably, adapting to changing weather and using better varieties of crops to increase yields.

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 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 ActionAid that 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. That’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.

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

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Photos: ActionAid, Emma Scullion/ActionAid