• Oxfam has been working in Uganda since the 1960s. Since then, we’ve implemented humanitarian and development programmes to support practical and innovative ways for people to lift themselves out of poverty.

My children's home was destroyed by river Nyamwamba

Photo by Emmanuel Museruka

River Nyamwamba first began flooding in 2013 and continues to overflow every year in May and sometimes twice a year. It has since destroyed homes, taken lives and displaced the residents of Kasese (Uganda), making them internally displaced people.

47-year-old Rehema Namale Aryemua, a mother of 10 children, is one of the flood victims who lost her home and later relocated to live in Muhokya Internally displaced people’s transit camp in Kasese district. In January 2020, Rehema bought land near river Nyamwamba after a friend convinced her that the land was affordable. Soon after buying, she started building her home for her children since she was a widow.

"My plan was to build a home for my children, especially my daughters, so that they wouldn’t have to suffer after I am gone" said Rehema. She moved into her finished house with her children after completion in March 2020, where they started gardening and poultry farming. They were able to connect electricity and water to their home.

They had barely lived in their home for two months when they received news that river Nyamwamba had burst its banks and was flooding. The floods kept on ravaging the places near it until they reached Rehema's land. The family wasn’t heavily affected by the water since they could still live in their home despite it being there. Two days later, the water had increased in speed and amount and destroyed some of their crops.

After a week, Rehema's neighbours abandoned their homes in anticipation of more floods, but her family stayed since they had nowhere to go hoping that the floods would eventually stop. They rebuilt their home twice before they also decided to shift after the floods persisted and destroyed their property.

They were taken to the internally displaced people’s camp by the local government officials and given some food items to fend for themselves.

Rehema and her children resettled in the camp and began to build another house using mud, sand, and wood. They also ventured into rearing rabbits, ducks, and chicken for sale to get income for her family. She currently rents land on which she plants crops like maize, groundnuts, and corn. These are crops that she later sells to raise money for her children’s school fees and welfare.

One hectare of land is hired out at 150,000Ugx, (Approx. 39USD) and Rehema rents at least 3 hectares to produce more crops to get enough income.

Rehema is committed to working hard to ensure that her children go back to school or get involved in securing and learning hands-on skills.

"My goal right now is to make sure my children get hands-on skills like knitting, tailoring or any skills that will enable them to survive even if they don’t get a formal education," said Rehema.

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3 reasons why we need to take action for climate justice

Companies continue to pollute. Politicians keep talking, doubting and procrastinating. But the climate does not wait. The climate crisis rages on tirelessly. The time for talk is over: it's high time for climate action! 3 reasons why we (must) take action now for a fair approach to the climate crisis.

1. The effects of climate change are already being felt, especially for the most vulnerable

The climate is changing rapidly. And it is becoming increasingly clear that we humans are the cause of this. Because we have started to emit more and more greenhouse gases, the heat from the sun is retained. As a result, floods, storms and droughts increase in intensity. 

We are feeling the dangers of the climate crisis worldwide. In vulnerable countries in Asia, Africa and South America, people have been experiencing the devastating effects of climate change for years. Harvests fail due to extreme drought, while forest fires or large floods drive people out of their homes. Millions of people are threatened in their very existence, even though they have contributed the least to the climate crisis. They don't have the money to protect themselves against extreme weather and crop failures. Climate change thus perpetuates poverty and inequality.

'Sometimes our cattle die from lack of rain'

Major droughts, alternating with periods of extreme rainfall, ravage the Zimbabwean countryside. Crops fail, for farmers like Sarah (55) it is becoming increasingly difficult to live off the land. “The weather pattern has changed in the last 25 years. That affects our harvest, because if the rain doesn't come as expected, our crops grow poorly. What we eat at home comes from the land. So if the rain doesn't come, it will have a big impact on our lives. Sometimes our cattle even die for lack of rain.'

2. Those responsible are doing far too little to tackle the climate crisis fairly

The good news: people worldwide are doing their best to do their part in the fight against climate change. But while many of us consciously separate waste, fly less and opt for a day without meat, politicians do not dare to make real choices. Polluting companies continue to put profit before people. Financial institutions continue to invest in the fossil fuel industry . And the promised support from rich countries to poorer countries to arm themselves against the consequences of climate change is seriously lacking .

Meanwhile, people in the most vulnerable countries are already paying the price. That is unjust. The lives of millions of people, and the future of all of us, are at stake.

"It's time we saw the money. It's time, it's time, it's time.'

24 years old, and watching victims of a devastating storm being evacuated by the police. Vanessa Nakate lived through it. The speech that the Ugandan climate activist gave during an international youth climate meeting in September was emotional and impressive . She emphasized the major impact of the climate crisis on Africa, which "ironically has the lowest CO2 emissions of any continent except Antarctica."

“We have been promised money for 2020, and we are still waiting. No more empty conferences. It's time to show us the money. It's time, it's time, it's time.'

3. COP26: Now is the time for world leaders to act

High time for politicians and big polluters to take an example from courageous people like Vanessa and Sarah. World leaders meeting in Glasgow now for COP26, this is perfect time to turn empty promises and empty words into powerful climate action. Show courage now and tackle the climate crisis honestly: that is climate justice!

As far as we're concerned, an honest approach looks like this:

  • Give vulnerable countries the promised financial support to arm themselves against climate change; 
  • Raise the climate ambitions to ensure that the earth does not warm by more than 1.5 degrees , so that we can bear the consequences together; 
  • Limit the CO2 emissions of companies and accelerate the transition to sustainable energy.

Inside East Africa's massive locust infestation

Taking advantage of favourable breeding conditions, locusts hit farmers and herders in areas already reeling from climate shocks.

Desert locust infestations have moved across Kenya, Somalia and Ethiopia, and are now entering areas of northern Uganda. The insects are also threatening Sudan and South Sudan, and there are reports of locust swarms now in Tanzania.

map of affected areas
Map of affected areas. Credit: UN Food and Agriculture Organization

The desert locust is among the most dangerous migratory pests in the world: A large desert locust plague can contain up to 58 million individuals per square mile, with half a million locusts weighing approximately one ton. One ton of locusts eats as much food in one day as about 10 elephants, 25 camels or 2,500 people.

"We depend on livestock and if there is no fodder for our livestock, life will be difficult for us, we ask for help urgently," said Mohammed Hassan Abdille, a farmer from Bura Dhima in Tana River, Kenya. This is the worst locust crisis in 70 years for Kenya alone.

The locusts have hit the region after countries there were affected by huge droughts and in some areas flash floods. There are currently 22.8m people facing severe food insecurity in these countries following consecutive failed rainy seasons, unusual floods, and storms.

The fast-moving locust swarms have been made worse by the climate crisis because they are feeding on new vegetation, the result of unusual weather patterns. They are devastating pastures and grasslands and could ruin new food crops during the March-to-July growing season.

Oxfam's Response

Oxfam is gearing up its humanitarian operations and will work closely with local partners and communities. Program staff in the region report they aim to reach more than 190,000 of the most vulnerable people with cash assistance, livestock feed, seeds, and health services.

In Somalia, together with local partners, Oxfam intends to assist 11,670 households of the most vulnerable people. In Kenya, Oxfam will work in seven of the 13 affected counties to assist 3,000 households in the first phase of operations, and another 5,000 in the second. In Ethiopia, Oxfam aims to reach another 5,000 households with similar aid. Oxfam will need to secure more than €4.6 million (£3.8 million) to mount this response.

Unusual rains advance breeding

This outbreak has been exacerbated by climate change. Cyclones that struck the Arabian Peninsula last year created ideal conditions for desert locusts to multiply. The swarms crossed to the Horn of Africa, where unusually heavy rains late last year created favorable breeding conditions. Heavy rain leads to growth of vegetation in arid areas, providing locusts with more food, and the conditions needed to develop and reproduce.

You can help Oxfam respond to the locust crisis in East Africa.

Uganda needs more help in world’s fastest-growing refugee crisis

Thursday 22nd June 2017

Uganda’s “open door” policy toward refugees – now being held up around the world as a gold standard – could quickly buckle and fail unless the international community respond in full to the country’s $673 million UN appeal.

International donors have pledged only $117 million so far to Uganda out of the $637 million needed for the county’s South Sudan refugee response. So far the $1.38 billion UN appeal for the wider region’s response to the world’s fast-growing refugee crisis – which includes Uganda, Sudan, Ethiopia, Kenya, Central African Republic and the Democratic Republic of Congo – is only 15% funded.

Almost one million people have fled South Sudan for Uganda since December 2013. So far this year an average of 2,000 people have arrived each day. Uganda is now hosting more than 1.25 million refugees in total, a number which has doubled over the last year. The vast majority – 86% – are women and children who need specific support to keep them safe from rape, beatings, torture, hunger and abandonment.

Peter Kamalingin, Oxfam’s Country Director in Uganda, said: “Uganda hosts the third-largest population of refugees in the world and yet it is one of the most under-funded host nations. This is both highly unfair and highly unsustainable. Uganda must get the support it needs to continue its welcoming policies toward its neighbour.”

Uganda is hosting the first Refugee Solidarity Summit on 22nd and 23rd June. Oxfam is calling on the international community to provide funds, humanitarian aid and, crucially, to pave the way for a peaceful resolution to conflicts in neighbouring countries. 

“Governments urgently need to invest in the Uganda response to ensure that refugees and their host communities are provided with shelter and protection among other urgent needs. Local humanitarian agencies here have a vital understanding of the context of the crisis, so they need to be supported to deal with the needs of refugees in timely and cost-effective ways,” Kamalingin said.

Uganda’s policies provide a basis for refugees to be able to access land, shelter and employment.

Kamalingin continued: “On paper, these policies are laudable and Uganda is rightly being praised – but it needs to be supported too. Host communities also need land, clean water, food and employment opportunities. Uganda is balancing people’s needs as best it can for the moment, but it won’t be able to sustain that over time without proper backing. Most importantly, it should not be lost to regional governments and the International community that the most urgent relief for a refugee is peace at home.”

Speaking on behalf of fifty national and local organisations who were consulted ahead of the summit, Paparu Lilian Obiale, Humanitarian Programme Manager at CEFORD, an Oxfam partner in the West Nile region, said: “Ugandan civil society hopes that the summit will not only raise the profile of refugees in Uganda but also bring much needed funding and encourage real discussion about the root causes of the displacement in the region. There needs to be genuine discussion about how we foster sustainable futures both for refugees and those in hosting communities." 



REPUBLIC OF IRELAND: Alice Dawson on 00353 (0) 83 198 1869 /

NORTHERN IRELAND: Phillip Graham on 0044 (0) 7841 102535 /

Notes to editors:

Oxfam’s refugee response in Uganda: Oxfam’s response to the refugee crisis in Uganda, alongside partners, is currently reaching over 280,000 refugees across four districts providing life-saving assistance, clean water, sanitation hygiene including construction of pit latrines, sustainable livelihoods and integrating gender and protection work. Oxfam and partners are actively engaged in advocacy for sustainable approaches to the refugee response as well as peace building at local level, national, regional and international levels.

Over the last 4 years, Oxfam in Uganda invested in pilot humanitarian capacity building for over 15 local and national organisations across different parts of Uganda. Those partners, working closely with Oxfam are critical in delivering timely and quality humanitarian services to people in need including during the influx of refugees from the Democratic Republic of Congo in 2012/13 and the influx of South Sudanese refugees since December 2013 to date.