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CRS in Uganda

Often described as the "Pearl of Africa," Uganda is defined by its rich culture, diverse flora and fauna, and engaging people. Despite these natural advantages, Uganda continues to face serious development challenges resulting from a protracted civil war, a devastating AIDS pandemic and trans-generational poverty.

Catholic Relief Services Uganda fosters sustained development solutions by working with and through local partners, specifically the Ugandan Catholic Church, to help Ugandans identify and address the root causes of poverty and injustice affecting their lives.


People Served: 1,190,183

Population:  37,101,745 (July 2015 est.)

Size: 93,065 sq. mi.; slightly smaller than Oregon


CRS' History in Uganda

Catholic Relief Services' began working in Uganda in 1965 through outreach from CRS Kenya to provide emergency relief to Sudanese refugees. Relief assistance continued throughout the 1980s as Rwandan and Congolese refugees flowed into Uganda to escape internal conflicts. In the mid-1990s, CRS opened the Kampala Office to assist the Ugandan people as armed conflict broke out between the Lord's Resistance Army rebel group and the Government of Uganda.

Historically one of CRS’ primary programming areas in Uganda involved the health response to the Ugandan HIV/AIDS epidemic. Successful capacity building of local partners lead to CRS’ effective transfer of responsibility to local NGO’s and civil society organizations, allowing CRS to shift its primary focus elsewhere. In Fiscal Year 2016, CRS’ supported a variety of programs within the sectors of agriculture, health, and microfinance, among others. CRS Uganda’s largest health initiative is the Sustainable Outcomes for Children and Youth (SOCY), which aims to improve the health, nutrition, education, and psychosocial wellbeing of vulnerable children, as well as reduce abuse, exploitation and neglect.

CRS’ agriculture portfolio includes the unique projects of Farmer-to-Farmer (F2F) and Revitalizing Vanilla in Uganda. F2F supports U.S. agricultural and nutrition experts to provide training and technical assistance to local farmers. The Revitalizing Vanilla in Uganda project, sponsored by ice cream maker Ben & Jerry’s, seeks to reinforce the vanilla sector in Uganda while improving agricultural incomes through fair trade.

CRS’ microfinance initiatives include Expanding Financial Inclusion project, funded by MasterCard Foundation, and BoI-Icap Mobile Access Project, funded by DFID through Financial Sector Deepening in Uganda. Both projects foster financial literacy through self-managed, community-based savings and lending using CRS’ Savings and Internal Lending Communities (SILC) methodology.

FY16 was a very busy year for CRS Uganda and the country program is only expecting to grow further in FY17.