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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.

CRS 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.

CRS’ work currently focuses on the following program areas:


CRS is an industry leader in comprehensive health programming, with expertise in health systems strengthening, nutrition intervention, and children’s health and wellbeing initiatives. In recent years, CRS health programs in Uganda have improved the quality of life of over 200,000 people. CRS continues to help survivors of HIV and AIDS through its programming to support orphaned and vulnerable children, along with their caretakers through the Sustainable Outcomes for Children and Youth project in Central and Western Uganda. Other health programs include Keeping Children in Healthy and Protective Families, Uganda Systems Strengthening and Nuyok, the latter of which is a program aimed at building resilience to shocks, enhancing livelihoods and improving food security for vulnerable families.

Agricultural Livelihoods

Agricultural growth helps reduce poverty. In Uganda, where 69% of households obtain their livelihood from subsistence farming, the agricultural sector is an important component of gross domestic product, and a major source of employment in addition to being the country’s primary source of food. CRS helps smallholder farmers improve their productivity and diversify their income streams. This enables them to move toward market-oriented production that increases their household income and quality of life, and strengthens their resilience to potential shocks. CRS is currently implementing three agriculture projects: Farmer to Farmer, Resilient Vanilla/Coffee Agroforestry Farming Systems, and Coffee Value Chain Development.

Emergency Response and Recovery

Since January 2017, CRS has worked in Bidibidi Refugee Settlement in Yumbe District. Emergency efforts currently focus on water, sanitation, and hygiene; shelter; livelihoods; and school construction. CRS works in direct partnership with refugee and host communities to promote peaceful co-existence and ensure respect for human dignity.


To contact the CRS Uganda country program, send an email to [email protected]




START Alert 376 Learning Grant results

In the past 18 months, several natural disasters in the form of flash flooding, landslides, mudslides and sinking terrain have plagued the Rwenzori, Teso and Mt. Elgon regions.  Two recent START Alerts 275 (Bududa in 2018) and 376 (Butaleja and Bulmabuli in 2019), directly responded to such events, which are more and more frequent with the increasing impacts of climate change.  The START Learning Grant activities carried out from June – August 2020 allowed CRS, consortium partners, and the larger response community in Uganda to understand, improve, and better execute market-based programming in areas prone to natural disasters in Uganda.  The recorded virtual Learning Event and other resources including assessment tools are shared here.


Communities Household Interview Key Informant Interview Mapping Tool Vendor Interview
Guide for Communities
Household interview
Kits guide
Mapping Tool
Vendor Interview Guide


Interactive Map & Dashboard Improving Preparedness




START Fund Learning Event




girl in Uganda
Supporting Families Impacted by HIV/AIDS

Along with our partners in rural Uganda, we're encouraging HIV positive caregivers & children to adhere to antiretroviral therapy, live healthy lifestyles and focus on their future.




Photo by Will Baxter/CRS



People Served: 1,634,945

Population:  39,570,125

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


CRS' History in Uganda

Catholic Relief Services, founded in 1943, is the overseas relief and development agency of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. CRS currently works in over 100 countries around the world with offices across Africa, Asia, Europe, and the Middle East.

CRS began work in Uganda in 1965 in an effort to aid refugees from South Sudan fleeing violence in their home country. In 1995, CRS opened an office in Kampala to better assist the Ugandan people during the armed conflict in the North. Since then, CRS has worked in the areas of agriculture, emergency response and recovery, health, microfinance, peacebuilding, and water and sanitation.

Despite achievements Uganda has made in eradicating poverty, many households remain poor with 21.4% of the population, about 8 million Ugandans, living below the poverty line (Uganda Bureau of Statistics 2017 report). Poverty is aggravated by vulnerability to adverse shocks with a large section of the country is still lagging behind in sanitation, education and child nutrition.

With a continued influx of refugees into the country because of regional instability, the World Bank projects a further decline in economic growth among hosting communities.