Uganda: WFP Uganda Country Brief, September 2016

Highlights

  • WFP is implementing a major operation to assist South Sudanese refugees who arrived in northern Uganda after renewed conflict in their country in July 2016.

  • WFP and partners have agreed to relax the eligibility criteria for cash-based transfers among refugees as part of a scale-up aimed at reaching 200,000 people by mid-March 2017.

  • In 2016, WFP has contributed USD 51 million to Uganda’s economy through local food purchases (97,000 metric tons) and local transport contracts.

WFP Assistance

All projects are aligned with the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 2 – End hunger, achieve food security and improve nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture ‘Zero Hunger’.

The Protracted Relief and Recovery Operation (PRRO) focuses on refugees and food-insecure populations in the north-eastern Karamoja region. In both populations, women and households headed by women are disproportionately affected by poverty, food insecurity and chronic stresses. The objectives of the PRRO are: (i) ensure refugees and vulnerable groups in Karamoja have access to food to meet their immediate needs and enable participation in programmes to increase their self-reliance; and (ii) support the Government and vulnerable communities to have reliable safety-net systems that increase resilience to shocks and improve human development trends.

WFP provides food assistance to refugees in the settlement areas in the form of food and cash-based transfers; mother-and-child health and nutrition (MCHN) programmes to address stunting and micronutrient deficiencies; treatment of moderate acute malnutrition; resilience building activities; and enhancing government emergency preparedness and response.

The Country Programme (CP) supports Uganda to increase incomes and food security of smallholder farmers to transition from subsistence to commercial production. The CP also assists the Government’s health, nutrition and education systems to: (i) prevent further stunting and micronutrient deficiencies among children by providing food assistance to mothers and children in the first 1,000 days of life; ii) provide treatment for moderate acute malnutrition among children under the age of five; and iii) provide school meals to increase enrolment and attendance. WFP activities include: i) agriculture and market support (AMS), ii) integrated nutrition services and iii) school feeding.
WFP places a strong focus on women and youth. Ninety percent of women in rural areas are involved in the agriculture sector, compared to 53 percent of men.

Women are therefore disproportionately affected by changing livelihood patterns, conflict, natural disasters and climate change. A third of Karamoja’s households are headed by women. These households are less foodsecure and more vulnerable, especially when measured against indicators such as access to land, number of income earners per household, years of schooling of household head and livestock ownership.

The Immediate Response Emergency Operation (IREMOP) provides immediate food assistance in the form of hot meals to newly arrived refugees from South Sudan following the recent outbreak of violence in July 2016.

Operational Updates

  • WFP is assisting South Sudanese refugees arriving in northern Uganda following renewed conflict in their country in July 2016. So far, 180,000 South Sudanese have arrived since 01 July 2016 and the majority of these are dependent on WFP’s assistance. WFP is providing the new refugees with high energy biscuits at border entry points, cooked meals at the transit centres and dry monthly rations to those who are resettled. WFP is also providing nutritious food to treat moderate acute malnutrition for children under five years of age, pregnant women and nursing mothers in the transit centres and settlements.

  • In October, WFP will introduce ready-to-use supplementary food (Plumpy’Sup) to malnourished refugee children on arrival and screening at the border, for immediate treatment of moderate acute malnutrition. The commodity can easily be carried to the transit centres and the settlements, doesn’t add more strain to the already over-burdened cooking facilities, and the malnourished children under treatment are not subjected to long (sometimes rowdy) queues to collect their food.

  • WFP remains overstretched for resources for refugees. Temporary ration reductions began in August, affecting more than 200,000 refugees who had arrived in Uganda prior to July 2015. The cuts are expected to continue until the funding situation improves. WFP was forced to reduce assistance for each affected family by half (both cash and food) because of a shortfall of USD 21 million for the next six months (October 2016-March 2017). Refugees that arrived since July 2015 as well as the particularly vulnerable people (the elderly, orphans, and those in need of treatment for moderate acute malnutrition) will continue to receive a full ration for as long as resources are sufficient.

  • WFP, UNHCR and the Uganda Government have agreed to expand the use of cash-based transfers in the refugee settlements beginning in October. Three refugee settlements (Kyaka II, Kyangwali and Koboko) hosting mostly Congolese refugees, will no longer have any food distributions by the end of 2016; WFP will provide only cash. In the other settlements, receiving cash-based transfers (Adjumani, Rhino Camp, Kiryandongo and Rwamwanja), WFP will allow refugees who arrived as recently as June 2016 and families categorized as Extremely Vulnerable Households (EVH) to receive cash if they so wish. Adjumani, Rhino Camp and Kiryandongo host South Sudanese refugees. The change will take effect gradually.

  • WFP has so far this year contributed USD 51 million to Uganda’s economy through local food purchases and local transport contracts. WFP has purchased 97,000 metric tons of food, valued at USD 36.5 million, compared to 58,000 tons valued at USD 20 million in 2015. The food has been used for WFP operations in Uganda and the region.

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