The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) in Uganda has expressed gratitude for a significant contribution of 1.3 million USD (UGX 5 billion) from the Norwegian government. This funding will be used to provide hot meals for new refugee arrivals from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and South Sudan. Norway’s commitment to this cause is reinforced by this contribution, which complements the 1.7 million USD (UGX 6.4 billion) they provided to WFP’s refugee response in 2022.
Anne Kristin Hermansen, Norway’s Ambassador to Uganda, commended Uganda for its progressive refugee policy. “Norway commends Uganda for its progressive refugee policy and, with this additional funding to WFP, we underline our commitment to the refugee response in Uganda”, said Anne Kristin Hermansen. As of August 31, 2023, over 80,000 new arrivals from South Sudan and DRC have been registered in Uganda since the beginning of the year, further increasing the existing refugee population in the country to a total of 1.6 million. The ongoing influx from both countries is expected to continue due to the complex, volatile, and persistent insecurity and conflict.
Abdirahman Meygag, the Country Director of WFP Uganda, highlighted the importance of Norway’s contribution in the face of financial challenges in providing humanitarian assistance to vulnerable populations. “This contribution will enable WFP to provide hot meals to new arrivals in transit and reception centers.” WFP in Uganda currently supports 1.4 million refugees with monthly food and cash assistance. However, due to funding constraints, they are compelled to distribute reduced rations below the desired volume.
This means that the most vulnerable refugees receive a 60 percent ration, moderately vulnerable refugees receive a 30 percent ration, and the least vulnerable refugees no longer receive food assistance. This is a result of the historic funding crisis that has forced WFP to prioritize its assistance. The Food Security and Nutrition Assessment (FSNA) survey conducted in August 2023 in refugee settlements reveals a likely deterioration in food security, with an 11 percent increase in food insecurity compared to 2022. There is also an expected rise in negative coping mechanisms.
In this challenging context, WFP is working to create opportunities for refugees and host community members to sustain themselves through income-generating activities, aiming for greater self-reliance. Norway has been one of the first countries to support WFP’s refugee self-reliance pathway with a contribution of USD 2.8 million (UGX 10.5 billion). This brings Norway’s total contribution to WFP’s refugee response in Uganda to USD 5.8 million (UGX 22 billion) in 2022/2023. This aligns with the Government of Uganda’s commitment to the Comprehensive Refugee Response Framework.