Latest update

Uganda's strict curfews and restrictions have begun to ease as confirmed COVID-19 cases stabilise. The country's vaccination program is well underway. Difficulty accessing testing has meant that the true figure of positive cases could be much higher than reported. Ugandan hospitals have been overwhelmed by patients requiring critical care, and many in the population have slipped back into poverty as a result of the pandemic.

Local church partners in Uganda have operated at a variety of capacities during this time, based on the government guidelines in their area. Most child development centres continue to meet in smaller groups or virtually for the time being to prevent the spread of the virus. Staff also conduct home visits to assess the wellbeing of children and their familes. Since the beginning of the pandemic, local workers have delivered over 298,000 food packs and 715,000 hygiene kits.

Watch the latest video update below from our global neighbours in Uganda to learn more.

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Country update

How is Compassion currently operating in Uganda?

  • Are Compassion centres open?

    Most Compassion development centres in Uganda are conducting home visits or meeting in small groups. Only a limited number of centres are able to resume normal program activities.

  • Are children receiving letters?

    The majority of letters are delayed in Uganda, which means it may take longer for you to receive letters from your child. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t write! We encourage you to continue sending your sponsored child letters of encouragement and hope. What a joyful day it will be when those letters are delivered!

  • Are gifts being delivered?

    Gifts continue to be distributed in Uganda. Staff members have been given the option to disburse monetary gifts to caregivers, where appropriate. This applies to family gifts and child gifts (including birthday and final gifts). Families may spend the gift on whatever they consider most important to meet family needs. The caregiver will decide the best use of the money, recognising that sometimes purchasing food or paying rent is in the best interest of a child.

How you can pray

Thank you for praying for children and families in Uganda who have been impacted by COVID-19—and the local staff and churches who continue to serve them in difficult circumstances.

Please join us in praying for the following:

  • Pray that God would bring healing to all children, families and pastors suffering from COVID-19.
  • Pray for wisdom and discernment for the doctors as they work to manage Martha’s epilepsy episodes.
  • Pray that the doctors would quickly diagnose and treat the cause of the swelling in Patrick’s legs.
  • Praise God for allowing a child’s caregiver to recover from COVID-19.
  • Pray that Trust would be healed from typhoid.
  • Pray that Joseph would grow in strength as he recovers from a brain operation.
  • Pray for wisdom for the doctors as they treat Hudda’s heart condition.
  • Pray that the damage caused by Sharon’s fall after her operation would not cause any lasting complications.
  • Pray for God’s protection for those who are vulnerable to child marriages.
  • Pray that God would provide a loving home for Anatoli, who was left abandoned in his community.
  • Pray that God would encourage the youth to continue to study as they become all that God has called them to be.
  • Pray that God’s comfort would be with a church as they grieve the passing of some of their members.
Food relief for families in Uganda

Food relief for families in Uganda

The lockdown restrictions in Uganda to prevent the spread of COVID-19 saw Obbo lose his job as a cook in a school. “I tried to look for work. However, the rich who can hire fear COVID-19 and wouldn’t hire me,” says Obbo. “The rich are fearful of COVID-19; the poor fear hunger.”   Read more open_in_new

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Please note: Due to the current pandemic, most child development centres in Uganda are still meeting in smaller groups or by conducting home visits.

A snapshot of Compassion's Child Sponsorship Program in Uganda

Compassion’s program is contextualised across countries and communities, as well as age groups.

  • Children aged 1 to 3 receive home-based care.
  • Children aged 3 to 11 visit the Compassion centre for eight hours on Saturdays.
  • Students aged 12 and older attend the centre for eight hours on Saturdays. They visit three to five days a week during school breaks.
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Compassion Program Activities in Uganda

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Compassion assisted children in Uganda typically attend program activities at their local child development centre on Saturdays. Here is an example of what a typical program day looks like for children in Uganda.

9:00am - A time of prayer and devotion.

9:30am - Spiritual lessons, in which children sing songs and learn Bible stories.

10:30am - Break time, when children can play in a safe environment and develop friendships. They are usually provided with a nutritional snack, such as tea, porridge and a bun.

11:00am - Social-emotional lessons ranging from conflict resolution to developing healthy self-esteem and a godly character. Children are taught social and personal skills.

12:00pm - Lunch time where the meal often consists of maize, rice or plantains with beans, peas or beef.

1:00pm - Health lessons, in which children learn practical health and hygiene tips. Example topics include how to prevent malaria and HIV transmission.

2:00pm - Letter writing and career planning. Older children work with local staff to identify their strengths and interests and set goals for their future.

Students can elect vocational training skills, such as carpentry, tailoring, and mat making. Parents are also offered monthly classes on adult literacy and quarterly training on topics such as hygiene, parenting and income generation activities.

The greatest needs impacting children living in poverty in Uganda

21%

of people live below the poverty line

375

mothers die from pregnancy related causes per 100,000 births

82%

of people lack access to improved sanitation

Uganda has been free from colonial occupation for more than 50 years. That time has not been easy, yet the nation is slowly climbing out of the mire of political feuds, protracted conflict, and longstanding problems of corruption. It is now known as one of the strongest African economies and a place where poverty is on the retreat. However, the impacts of COVID-19 pose a significant threat to Uganda's economic growth and its recent gains in health development.

Many locals continue to deal with the aftermath of the brutal two-decade long civil war which terrorised the country’s north. The war, between rebel group the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA), led by Joseph Kony, and government forces, remains Africa’s longest-running armed conflict. During their 26-year reign of terror, the LRA abducted more than 30,000 children, forcing them to become soldiers, weapon carriers, and sex slaves.

Since the LRA was pushed out of Uganda—and into neighbouring countries—in 2006, the majority of the 1.8 million people displaced by their violence have returned home or resettled. However, a generation of young people is scarred by the war. The process of rehabilitating displaced or traumatised children, women and men and reintegrating them back into society is made even more difficult by a lack of resources.

The refugee population in Uganda currently stands at approximately 1.2 million, a figure that has nearly tripled since 2016. This massive influx has made Uganda the largest refugee host in Africa and placed significant strain on social services, amenities and access to employment.

Despite the nation’s progress in the fight against HIV/AIDS over the last two decades, HIV continues to disproportionately affect adolescents, especially girls. Access to medical treatment is improving but is still a struggle for many, especially in rural areas.

Presidential elections were held in January 2021 and were preceded by political violence and unrest. President Yoweri Museveni was re-elected and has now led the nation for more than 30 years, having first come to power in 1986 when he led the National Resistance Army in a guerrilla war against then-President Milton Obote.

Meanwhile, local churches are hard at work, reaching out to the poorest children and their families and sharing a hope more powerful than poverty.

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