Uganda Facts

Compassion has been making a difference in the lives of children in need in Uganda since 1980. Through our work there, we gather Uganda facts about children in need and the community of Uganda. These Uganda facts and statistics provide a good overview of the reality of poverty and how Compassion is releasing children from poverty in Jesus' name.

Poverty is a common problem in the country of Uganda but Compassion is working to change this. The Uganda facts tell a discouraging story, but Compassion is bringing hope in the midst of this discouragement. With your involvement, our programs are changing the statistics one child at a time.

Don't let the hopelessness of Uganda facts overwhelm you. You can make a difference to a child in Uganda today!

Uganda

Compassion International's ministry in Uganda began in 1980. The organization has grown to more than 260 child development centers in the districts of Kisoro, Kabale, Rukungiri, Bushenyi, Ntungamo, Kasese, Mbarara, Masaka, Mpigi, Kampala, Entebbe, Luwero, Mukono, Kayunga, Lugazi, Jinja, Pallisa, Mbale, Iganga, Busia and Bugiri.

Currently, Compassion Uganda has registered more than 71,600 children. With the ongoing registrations, this number is steadily increasing. Compassion partners with churches to help them provide Ugandan children with the opportunity to rise above their circumstances and become all God has created them to be.

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Uganda Map

Uganda Map 270x350 jpg

Learn About Uganda
History

The precolonial history of Uganda is not well recorded, since genealogy was the only method employed by the early settlers in the area. At the time of the first exploration of Uganda, there were three main kingdoms, each ruled by a monarch and laws and customs of their own. The kingdoms of Buganda, Kitara (sub-divided into Bunyoro and Toro) and Karagwe are all well documented by early explorers. It is believed that these kingdoms originated around the 16th century, the land before that probably being occupied by Bushmen. The Bantu originated from the west coast of Africa, migrating along the Niger River, and occupied the northern, central and western parts of Uganda. The eastern part of Uganda, occupied some 250 years ago by the Nilo-Hamitic tribes, never formed a kingdom because the people were nomadic and the area was not well suited to agriculture.

There are four main ethnic groups in Uganda, which all have different origins.
The Bantu, by far the largest in number, came from the west and include the tribes of Buganda, Banyankole, Basoga, Bakiga, Batoro, Banyoro, Banyarwanda, Bagisu, Bagwere and Bakonjo.

The Nilotics, who came from the north, include the Lango, Acholi, Alur, Padhola, Lulya and Jonam.

The NiloHamitics include the Teso, Karamojong, Kumam, Kakwa, Sebei, Pokot, Labwor and Tepeth, and the Sudanics include the Lugbara, Madi and Lendu.

The Hamites are mostly constituted by the Bahima.

These tribes engaged in the long distance trade with the Arabs and some of their neighbors.

The first Europeans set foot in Uganda in 1862 as explorers and were followed by missionaries. Following religious wars between converted Protestants and Anglicans in Buganda, a British protectorate administration took control of the region in 1896. Independence movements of the 1950s came to fruition in 1962 when Uganda was granted self-rule. In 1971 a military coup toppled the country's first government. Army commander Idi Amin took control, looting the country and killing opponents and members of their tribes. After eight years of Amin's misrule, Uganda was an economic and social disaster. Thousands starved to death or were killed.

Guerrilla war and human rights abuses under Milton Obote from 1980 to 1985 claimed the lives of at least another 100,000 people. The rule under current president Lt. Gen. Yoweri Kaguta Museveni, who seized power in 1986, has brought relative stability and economic growth to Uganda.

Education

The typical school year runs from January to November. Education is encouraged and seen in most parts of the country as a very important stepping stone to success. Education is not compulsory, but to encourage parents to take their children to school, the government has established the Universal Primary Education policy where four children from each family have their education costs subsidized in government-run schools. There are plans to extend this to the secondary school level. Most Ugandans attend primary education from age six through 13.

Makerere University, the biggest and oldest university in East Africa, is located in Kampala. For several decades, this was the only university in Uganda. However, in the past 10 years, several universities have emerged to give options to the increasing number of students.   

There are some communities that have resisted education. But overall, the attitude toward education has improved greatly and the graduate rate continues to increase.

Religion

The constitution provides for freedom of religion. In many areas, particularly in rural settings, some religions tend to be syncretistic. Deeply held traditional indigenous beliefs commonly are blended into or observed alongside the rites of recognized religions, particularly in areas that are predominantly Christian.

Missionary groups of several denominations are present and active in the country, including the Pentecostal Church, the Baptist Church, the Episcopal Church/Church of Uganda, the Church of God, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.

Private Koranic and Christian schools are common. In public schools, religious instruction is optional and the curriculum covers world religions rather than instruction in one particular religion. There are also many private schools sponsored by religious groups that offer religious instruction according to the school's affiliation. These private schools are open to students of other faiths, but they usually do not offer minority religious instruction.

Source: U.S. Department of State, International Religious Freedom Report, released by the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor, November 8, 2005, http://www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/irf/2005/51501.htm.

Culture

Art

Ugandans produce woven textiles, pottery, sculpture, oral poetry, ritual dance and drama.

Music

Ugandan music includes traditional and cultural dance and singing, drums and African instruments.

Holidays and Festivals

New Year's Day, Jan. 1
Liberation Day, Jan. 26
Women's Day, March 8
Easter Week, March/April
Labor Day, May 1
Martyrs' Day, June 3
Heroes' Day, June 9
Independence Day, Oct. 9
Christmas, Dec. 25: The Christmas season is the most important holiday of the year in Uganda and is very festive. Shopping is popular and usually begins the first week of December. Gifts, clothes and Christmas cards are purchased. Caroling is also popular Uganda also observes Muslim holidays.

Sports and Games

Ugandans enjoy soccer, boxing, basketball, golf and cricket. Recreational activities include mountain hiking/climbing, watching gorillas, fishing, whitewater rafting, sailing and bird watching.

Typical Foods

Ugandans eat many foods, including bananas, corn, rice, sweet potatoes, cassava, beans and indigenous vegetables.

Peanut Soup
1-1/2 cups dry unsalted peanuts
3 cups chicken stock
1 large onion, finely chopped
1 tsp. hot pepper sauce
salt
1 tsp. soy sauce
1-1/2 cups milk, scalded
croutons

In a blender or food processor, combine the peanuts and some chicken stock. Puree. In a saucepan, combine the pureed peanuts, the remainder of the chicken stock, onion, hot pepper sauce and salt to taste. Cook over low heat for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in the soy sauce and milk, and continue cooking over low heat for another five minutes. Garnish with croutons and serve hot. Yields six appetizer-size servings.

Greetings

Luganda

Olyotya? (How are you?)
Gyendi. (I am well.)
Nze bampita ... (My name is ...)
Webale. (Thank you.)

Runyankole/Rukiga

Agandi? (How are you?)
Nimarungyi. (I am well.)
Nibanyeta ... (My name is ...)
Webare. (Thank you.)

Compassion in Uganda

Compassion International's ministry in Uganda began in 1980. The organization has grown to more than 260 child development centers in the districts of Kisoro, Kabale, Rukungiri, Bushenyi, Ntungamo, Kasese, Mbarara, Masaka, Mpigi, Kampala, Entebbe, Luwero, Mukono, Kayunga, Lugazi, Jinja, Pallisa, Mbale, Iganga, Busia and Bugiri. 

Currently, Compassion Uganda has registered more than 71,600 children. With the ongoing registrations, this number is steadily increasing. Compassion partners with churches to help them provide Ugandan children with the opportunity to rise above their circumstances and become all God has created them to be.

Uganda Facts & Figures

Visit the Togo Country News page to read the latest news, stories and prayer requests for Togo. 

Uganda United States
Capital

Kampala

Washington, D.C.
Population

32,369,558 (July 2010 estimate)

Note: Estimates for this country take into account the effects of excess mortality due to AIDS.

307,212,123 (July 2010 estimate)
Languages English (official national language, taught in grade schools, used in courts of law and by most newspapers and some radio broadcasts), Ganda or Luganda (most widely used of the Niger-Congo languages, preferred for native language publications in the capital and may be taught in school), other Niger-Congo languages, Nilo-Saharan languages, Swahili, Arabic English 82.1%, Spanish 10.7%, other Indo-European 3.8%, Asian and Pacific island 2.7%, other 0.7% (2000 census)
Religions Christian 83.9% (Roman Catholic 41.9%, Protestant 42%), Muslim 12.1%, Other 3.1%, none 0.9% (2002 estimate) Christian 78.5% (Protestant 51.3%, Roman Catholic 23.9%, other Christian 3.3%), Jewish 1.7%, Buddhist 0.7%, Muslim 0.6%, other or unspecified 2.5%, unaffiliated 12.1%, none 4% (2007 est.)

Literacy rate

Definition: Age 15 and over can read and write.

Male: 76.8%

Female: 57.7% (2003 est.)

Male: 99%

Female: 99% (2003 est.)
Percentage of population using improved drinking water sources

Urban:  90%

Rural:  60% (2006 estimate)

Urban: 100%

Rural: 94% (2006 estimate)
Percentage of population using adequate sanitation facilities

Urban: 29%

Rural: 34% (2006 estimate)

Urban: 100%

Rural:  99% (2006 estimate)
Climate Tropical; generally rainy with two dry seasons (December to February, June to August); semiarid in northeast Mostly temperate but tropical in Hawaii and Florida, arctic in Alaska, semiarid in the Great Plains west of the Mississippi River and arid in the Great Basin of the southwest; low winter temperatures in the northwest are warmed occasionally in January and February by chinook winds from the eastern slopes of the Rocky Mountains.
Percentage of population urbanized 13% (2008 estimate) 82% (2008 estimate)
Life expectancy

Male:  51.6 years

Female:  53.8 years (2010 est.)

Male:  75.65 years

Female 80.69 years (2010 est.)
Under-5 mortality rate 135/1,000 (2008 estimate) 8/1,000 (2008 estimate)
GDP per capita $1,200 (2009 est.) $46,000 (2009 est.)
Monetary unit Ugandan shilling (UGX) U.S. dollar (USD)
Number of people living with HIV/AIDS 940,000 (2007 est.) 1.2 million (2007 est.)
Percentage of population living below $1.25 a day

52% (1992-2007 study)

Data not available

Sources for facts:  The World Factbook, 2010; The State of the World's Children, 2009