Where is Uganda

Where is Uganda Where is Uganda is a common question. Uganda is located in the eastern part of Africa. The countries that surround Uganda are Kenya, South Sudan, Democratic Republic of Congo, Rwanda, and Tanzania. More information on how to answer the question, "where is Uganda", and many other facts about Uganda can be found on Compassion International's country information page for Uganda.
Uganda Western Region

The Location


The Population


The Religion

Roman Catholic, Protestant

The Weather

  • At a market in the western region, women sell produce grown on their small family farms. Uganda Produce Stands at Market
  • Children especially enjoy singing together during Compassion center activities. Uganda Children in Church
  • All members of the family pitch in to work their small fields. Uganda Boys Gathering Sticks
  • Compassion-assisted child development centers are safe places for children to play. Uganda Children Playing on the Slide
  • These boys look up a Scripture verse together during a Christian education activity at their Compassion center. Uganda Boys Reading the Bible
  • Uganda’s western region is characterized by a beautiful and dramatic landscape. Uganda Green Countryside and Homes

Overview: Western Uganda

Western Uganda borders Tanzania and Rwanda to the south and the Democratic Republic of the Congo to the west. This region is home to about 8 million people.

Among the people in the west are 14 different ethnic groups and languages. The primary tribes have their own traditional kingdoms, governed by tribal kings. One of these kings, at 18 years old, at one time was the world’s youngest monarch. He ascended to the throne at age 3, after the sudden death of his father.

The rural people in this region are involved primarily in farming, while those in the urban centers work in industrial and business activities. Another common job is cattle raising. In fact, among the Banyankole people, milk is the primary source of nutrition, with children commonly eating or drinking nothing else. The prevalence of cattle keeping is the reason that the area around the city of Mbarara is usually referred to as the “land of milk and honey.” And yet, life is still difficult for many residents.

About 80 percent of the people here practice Christianity. The remaining practice either Islam or traditional religions.

In the western region, you can find Uganda’s highest point, Margherita Peak (16,765 ft.), and lowest point, Lake Albert (2,037 ft.). The region also has lush jungle forests and is home to more than half of the world’s mountain gorillas.

One of Uganda’s two national parks where mountain gorillas are found is the Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, located along Uganda’s border with Democratic Republic of Congo. This park is accessible only on foot and is known for its rich diversity of plants and animals.


Culture Corner

Uganda Culture


Make this easy, traditional Ugandan dish featuring plantains, commonly found throughout the country.


  • 8-10 green plantains
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • Oil for frying
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2-3 tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 green bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 chili pepper, chopped (optional)
  • 3-4 garlic cloves, crushed
  • Salt, coriander, cayenne pepper or red pepper
  • 1 lb. beef stew meat, cut in bite-sized pieces
  • 1 c. beef broth


Peel the plantains, cut into cubes, sprinkle with lemon juice, and set aside. Heat oil in a large pan. Fry the onion, tomatoes, green pepper, chili pepper, and garlic together. Add spices to taste. Add meat. Continue frying and stirring until the meat is nearly done. Add broth, and bring to boil. Reduce heat. Add plantains. Cover and simmer over low heat until plantains are tender and meat is done. Serve hot.


Life in Western Uganda

As throughout Uganda, most families in the western region commonly make a meager living from small-scale farming. Many also raise a few head of cattle to supplement their nutrition and income. However, because of the dense and growing population in this region, the availability of farmland and water for cattle is steadily decreasing.

Many different ethnic groups live in the western region, each with their own language and customs. The majority of people practice some form of Christianity, but there are also Muslims and those who practice traditional, animist religions.

Lying just to the south of the equator, the western region features dramatic altitude differences, with the Rwenzori Mountains rising to more than 16,000 feet, and Lake Albert sitting at 2,000 feet above sea level.

Children at Home

Families in Uganda’s rural western region live in small round huts built with a frame of sticks covered in mud. Extended families typically live together in a complex of huts, and they farm the surrounding land. Growing up around their aunts, uncles, grandparents and older cousins and siblings, children are collectively raised by the adults in their extended family. In urban areas, poor families typically live in small rented homes.


Community Issues and Concerns Community in Uganda

Recent reports indicate that Uganda’s western region has the highest number of reported cases of child abuse. Tragically, children here, more than anywhere else in the country, are subjected to sexual exploitation, neglect and child labor.

In addition, unpredictable weather in the area can lead to disaster. For example, early in 2010, the region experienced unusually heavy rains; the rains led to mudslides and the loss of about 20 lives.

Local Needs and Challenges

A particular challenge for children in Uganda’s western region is the high cost of a secondary school education, which is out of reach for most poor families. Also, children here are vulnerable to rising rates of abuse and neglect. Many, orphaned by HIV or AIDS or abandoned by their parents, have to fend for themselves. It is common to find the oldest child in a family caring for his or her younger siblings as the head of the household.


Schools and Education Education in Uganda

The school year in Uganda comprises 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. Sadly, among Uganda’s population, only 66 percent of those age 15 and over are able to read or write. Among women, fewer than 58 percent are literate.

At the Compassion Child Development Center

Compassion serves children in Uganda’s western region through numerous church-based child development centers. These centers are havens of love and learning for registered children. Here, children receive nutritious meals, hygiene training, and tutoring to attain standard academic milestones. They are also encouraged to develop their talents and abilities. Most important, children learn about the love of God and gift of salvation in Christ.


Working Through the Local Church

Compassion’s mission to release children from poverty is carried out by local churches. Our church partners are in the heart of the communities we want to reach. They understand the challenges local children face, and they reach out to them regardless of gender, ethnicity, or religious belief.

Recently in Uganda, when a Compassion-assisted child’s family was presented a gift from his sponsor, his Muslim caregiver said, “If this is what it means to be Christian, then let me accept Jesus Christ.” He was overwhelmed not only by the sponsor’s generosity but also by the fact that in a country where corruption is commonplace, the church presented him the entire amount that was sent.

How Compassion Works in Uganda Compassion in Uganda

Compassion’s work in Uganda began in 1980. Currently, more than 77,000 children participate in 300 child development centers.

Compassion partners with local churches, helping them provide Ugandan children with a long-term program of physical, educational, social and spiritual development. Through this partnership between Compassion and local churches, children in need have the opportunity to rise above their circumstances and fulfill their potential in Christ.

The Role of a Partnership Facilitator

Partnership Facilitators are an important link between Compassion and the individual church partners that implement our program. In Uganda, each Partnership Facilitator, or PF, oversees 12 local churches that operate Compassion-assisted child development centers.

PFs play a critical role in empowering local church partners to be the best they can be at meeting the needs of their communities’ children. Ugandans themselves, PFs understand the local reality of the churches they serve and are best able to represent the churches’ needs and challenges to the national Compassion office.

Uganda’s PFs demonstrate a selfless commitment to their demanding jobs. They have a passion for children and never pass up an opportunity to speak out on their behalf.


Prayer Requests

  • Pray for predictable weather and abundant harvests for the region’s families who depend on subsistence farming.
  • Pray for the protection of children from neglect and abuse.
  • Pray that assisted children will advance academically.
  • Pray for Compassion center staff members, who diligently strive to meet the needs of the children in their care.