In Northern Uganda
Geography & Climate
- Northern Uganda is a flat lowland area bordering Sudan, Kenya and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
- The rainy seasons are from March to May and September to November. The rest of the year is extremely hot and dry.
The northern region of Uganda is the country’s poorest.
Most families depend on subsistence farming, growing such basic grains as millet and corn to meet their nutritional needs.
More than 60 percent of adults in the north are unemployed, and their families suffer from extreme poverty.
Children at Home
The mud huts of rural northern Uganda have a radius of only seven or eight feet and are found in clusters.
Usually, the head of the family shares one hut with his wife and one or two of the youngest children.
The other children occupy another hut, adjacent to that of the parents. Other huts nearby are homes of aunts, uncles, grandparents and other members of the extended family.
Issues and Concerns
- The Lord’s Resistance Army’s (LRA) violence left more than 1.6 million people homeless. Tens of thousands of people were killed or kidnapped, and 20,000 children were forced to become child soldiers or sex slaves.
- Although a tentative ceasefire agreement was reached with the Lord’s Resistance Army, people in this region still suffer from the conflict.
- As many as 150,000 children have lost one or both parents. Also, many of the region’s families are starting from scratch, struggling to rebuild their lives.
- Famine and crime are widespread.
- Recent surveys show that this region has the highest rate of new HIV infections in all Uganda.
- Another serious concern is the high rate of unemployment.
Local Needs and Challenges
Trauma from the LRA conflict
Children still suffer the devastating effects of the long conflict with the Lord’s Resistance Army. Many were kidnapped and sexually exploited or forced to bear arms, participating in killings and other atrocities.
Children born to teenage mothers are very common in this region.
Many orphans and vulnerable children are living on their own. Often, they resort to child labor, prostitution, early marriage, or other detrimental options just to survive.
Schools and Education
- The school year in Uganda has three terms: February through April, the end of May through mid-August, and early September to late November.
- Students typically attend school about 250 days each year.
- Among Uganda’s population, only 66 percent of those over age 15 are able to read or write.
- Among women, fewer than 58 percent are literate.
Compassion Uganda works to ensure that every registered child is able to attend school, and it provides additional support, including tutoring, at the child development centers.
At the Compassion Child Development Center
In northern Uganda, Compassion centers provide children the help and learning opportunities they need to reach their potential in Christ.
Along with nutritious meals for proper physical development, they also receive medical assistance and hygiene training to stay healthy.
Tutoring helps to make up for any school deficiencies, and most important, children learn about the love of their heavenly Father and are introduced to salvation in Jesus Christ.
What Compassion Sponsorship Provides
In partnership with local churches, Compassion is bringing real help and hope to impoverished children in northern Uganda, providing:
- regular nutritious meals and snacks
- health checkups and medical care as needed
- the support needed to attend school
- training for caregivers in such skills as food production and storage, fruit tree grafting and animal husbandry to help them be more productive
- sources of safe water through various projects at the centers
- training in hygiene and sanitation
- HIV and AIDS interventions — such as treatment of opportunistic infections and voluntary counseling and testing
- career days at centers to raise the awareness of caregivers and children about the importance of education and address the school dropout problem
- tutoring for the children, as well as the fees uniforms, shoes, bags and books they need to attend school