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Improving safety for learners and teachers at school in Uganda

Facts and Figures

The massive influx of refugees puts heavy pressure on the education system and capacities in Uganda. There are no signs that the root causes of the displacement – violence, food insecurity, loss of security, resources and even the very basic services – will disappear soon and the displaced/refugee/host populations must prepare themselves for a long period of living in displacement. The children and youth risk missing out on any education if the education system is not supported and strengthened.

According to data from UNHCR:

  • by the end of 2017 Uganda was hosting 1.4 million refugees. That is a 44% increase since 2016 (the population of Uganda is 44 million)
  • Uganda is hosting the 3rd largest number of refugees in the world
  • 1,037,400 of the refugees were from South Sudan. In addition, the country also hosts extensive refugee populations from the DRC (226,200), Burundi (38,200), Somalia (25,000) and Rwanda (14,300)
  • the Uganda Police Annual Crime Report states that 14,985 defilement cases were reported in 2017
  • the rate of early/child marriage has increased: 25% of adolescents aged 15 –19 have begun childbearing and 19% of women aged 15 –19 have given birth
  • in 2016, FAWEU conducted a study on linkages between pregnancy and school dropout among 2,147 girls from 173 schools in 13 districts in Uganda and established that more than 76% girls had dropped out of school before transitioning to secondary and out these girls 54% had ever had sex


Based on the outcome of The Uganda National Violence against Children Survey (VACS) 2018 Commissioned by the Ministry of Gender, Labor and Social Development:

  • in Uganda 1 in 3 females (35%) and 1 in 6 males (17%) experienced sexual abuse at childhood
  • children who suffered sexual abuse experienced higher mental distress than children who didn’t, and this affects their ability to concentrate and perform well in class
  • the most frequent perpetrators of sexual violence against girls during their childhoods are neighbours and strangers

I dropped out of school at age 13, because I was getting married. But now I feel like learning something again, so I can help provide for my family. I have heard that a new project is about to be launched here in the settlement, giving young mums like me a chance to return to school. I would like that very much. For my own sake –and for my baby’s sake

– Jackeline Aryemo, 17 years old


Uganda has adequate policies and laws to address issues of child protection sufficiently:

  • the 1995 Constitution of the Republic of Uganda ensures that all children access and enjoy their rights e.g. education, age-appropriate information, health care among others
  • the 2016 Children Amended Act stipulates that all children shall be protected from child labour and other forms of exploitations
  • the Penal Code Act 2007 prohibits sexual abuse for all children with key emphasis on girls
  • the Prevention of Trafficking in Persons Act 2009 outlaws child sexual exploitation


In addition to these legislations, there are several key policies and national action plans that government has put in place to address sexual violence in institutions of learning:

  • National Adolescent Health Policy (2004)
  • National Orphans and Vulnerable Children Policy (2004)
  • The Child Labor Policy (2006) and its attendant National Plan of Action against Child Labor (June 2012)
  • The National Strategy for Girls Education (1998)
  • The National Strategy on Ending Child Marriage and Teenage Pregnancies (2015)
  • Guidelines for Prevention, Management of HIV/AIDS and Teenage/Unintended Pregnancy in School-Settings of Uganda
  • The Gender in Education Policy (reviewed in 2016)
  • The National Sexuality Education Framework 2018


Conducive learning

Considering the project area of operation i.e. refugee settlement and the host communities, some of the learners are above 18 years of age and don’t fit into the category of child. Thus, the overall goal is to create a conducive learning with a gender responsive perspective.