Challenges and difficult lives hit refuges in different camps in Uganda (author: Claude Nimbona)

Refugees live in precarious conditions in different camps in UGANDA in East Africa due to the lack of access to clean water, access to the information, electricity, insecurity food, poor education, insufficient healthcare and refugees increase by day with high number from Great lakes region and horn of Africa.

Uganda is Africa’s largest refugee hosting country with over 1.5 million refugees and asylum seekers registered in the Office of the Prime Minister’s (OPM) Biometric Identity Management System (BIMS).The country has 28 refugee camps Uganda divided into  11 settlement camps: Achol-Pii Settlement,Bidi Bidi Settlement,Imvepi Refugee Settlement, Kampala Settlement,Kiryandongo Settlement,Kyaka II Settlement,Kyangwali Settlement,Nakivale Settlement,Palorinya Settlement,Rhino Settlement,Rwamwanja Settlement.currently  refugees from Ethiopia, Somalia, Eritrea, DR Congo, Rwanda, Burundi, Sudan and South Sudan. Nearly 1.5 million refugees including more than 860,000 children. The country continues to host refugees at an unprecedented scale, keeping its borders open refugees, according to the UNHCR, the United Nations Refugee Agency.

What are the challenges faces by refugees?


  • Long queues have been witnessed in various camps as women, the elderly and children seek water at tap, and most of them prefer to go to fetch water in pond because they can pass 2 or 3 days without getting at tapes and that lead diarrheal diseases, including cholera, typhoid fever, and other water-borne illnesses as there not good healthcare in camps that put at risk most vulnerable refugees due to the lack of resources for medical treatment.
  • Food security for refugees in camps: most of refugees living in precarious condition due to the shortage of food where 82% receive 12,000 Ugx (3, 27 USD) per head per month, 13% receive 24,000 Ugx (6, 55 USD) per head per month especially few single mothers, 4% don’t receive food in nakivale refugee settlement and many eat once a day by the grace of God. Lack of firewood for cooking, food insecurity, access to clean water all those lead to the diseases related to malnutrition and increase crimes inside camps and neighbors host communities.
  • Poverty remains high and inflation is on the rise which increase economic vulnerability and tensions amongst refugees and the host community increase as social services provided by humanitarian actors reduced in 2023 and price for food increased for example 1kg of rice cheap cost 4000 Ugx (1, 08 USD), 1kg of maize flour cheap cost 3000 Ugx (0, 81 USD), 1kg of beans cheap cost 3500 Ugx (0,95 USD).


Refugee children in Uganda are facing a number of challenges in accessing education, including lack of funding, overcrowding, lack of qualified teachers, and lack of resources. As a result, the quality of education in refugee camps in Uganda is often poor.Lack of English and limited schooling makes it exceptionally difficult for many refugee children to fully catch up and meet high school graduation requirements in a timely manner and most student drop out school while they still under 18 age old at senior one (8) due to the lack of resources, lack of lighting materials and access to the information or research on internet increase high number of failure, lack of centers skills to train adults and single mothers illiteracy. Equally challenging for many refugee youths is their potential trauma and severe adversity, including poverty, food security, and displacement, violence, lack of soap and hygiene kits for girls those lead to unexpected pregnancy for girls and drop out schools early.



Health services for refugees are insufficient like health workers are not good maintained and at least minimum daily patient contacts (consultations, prescriptions, treatments, and dispensing) provide. Illness caused by unclean water, malnutrition for children ,transmissible disease (AIDS HIV, Hepatitis, genital illness) are at high number, mantel health caused by what refugees experienced while they  was still living in their home country or due to the difficulties lives they live in country of asylum, high numbers of children under 5 year and pregnant mothers die . The well-established and highly functional model referral systems for healthcare are far and vehicle ambulances transport refugee come late for emergency case. Refugees who experience poor mental healths that are not being well supported, abuse, neglected, and exploited are not receiving support due to staffing gaps in case management services and alternative care services, lack of healthcare professionals , advice remotely, no access to medical research. All those problems increase small pharmacies in different villages in camps without skills and experience in the field. Some refugees prefer to use cultural medicine due to the insufficient healthcare treatment and lack of resources.

In conclusion, refugees in Uganda are facing more challenges and difficult lives. Influencing by high number of refugees and that put at risk hundreds thousands children refugees for their future and lives of refugees in general. Addressing these issues requires comprehensive solution for the international organizations, including investment in education, healthcare, nutrition, water supply and sanitation, food, energy, shelter as well as domestic items and specialized services for people with specific needs.

Author: Claude Nimbona / Unsung Heroes Uganda