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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: 485,842 total (153,376 direct; 332,466 indirect)

Population:  35,918,915 (July 2014 est.)

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


CRS' History in Uganda

Catholic Relief Services' presence in Uganda began in 1965 as an emergency relief effort of CRS Kenya to assist Sudanese refugees fleeing their country. Relief assistance continued throughout the 1980s as Rwandan and Congolese refugees flowed into Uganda to escape internal conflicts.

In the mid-90s, CRS established an office in Kampala to better assist the Ugandan people as armed conflict broke out between the Lord's Resistance Army rebel group and the government of Uganda. Today, CRS works with and through our local partners to design and implement programs that provide sustainable and scalable solutions for poor and marginalized communities.

One of CRS’ programming areas in Uganda involves health. HIV affects millions of Ugandans, including those living with the virus and the many children who have lost one or both parents to AIDS. CRS supports projects that provide care and treatment, promote education and prevention, and offer assistance to children left behind. These initiatives are aimed at empowering individuals and communities to prevent the spread of HIV and help those affected by the pandemic. 

We strengthen families in rural Uganda through the Savings and Internal Lending Communities (SILC) program, which helps communities establish secure savings systems, an internal loan fund and a social insurance fund.

Many Ugandans struggle to survive through unexpected emergencies each year. Uganda is a disaster-prone country with a long-history of earthquakes, landslides, flooding and drought. Key activities over the years have included providing shelter in conflict zones, water and sanitation projects in camps for displaced people, and innovative agriculture fairs that enable farm families to select seeds, tools and small livestock to rebuild their lives after a disaster. 

CRS’ work in the agricultural sector is very diverse, including the Farmer-to-Farmer project that brings U.S. agricultural experts to Uganda to share skills with farmers through training and technical assistance projects and the Girls Agro-Investment (GAIN) project. GAIN teaches out-of-school girls valuable life, entrepreneurial and business skills while earning money by cultivating passion fruit.

CRS Uganda also ensures that communities make the most efficient, effective and equitable use of water.  CRS works with leaders to help community members develop a sense of ownership and responsibility for water management and increase adoption of good hygiene and sanitation practices.