Why We Exist
Uganda Fact Sheet
HIV still Rampage in Uganda, about 1.4 billion of people are currently living with HIV and tens of thousands of lives were lost each year. Women and children made up a great part of the affected, and over 1 million children were orphaned by HIV each year. Thou the government has initiated a vast array of programs to fight against HIV/AIDS, such as voluntary counseling and testing, and promotion of condom use, access to medical care is difficult and limited. Prevalence, comprehensive knowledge of HIV and condom use among young people is not common.
Poverty and Economic Development
Uganda’s agricultural sector has made up a large part of their economy, producing products such as cotton, coffee, tea and vanilla. The crops are mostly cultivated by rural communities in small scale, yet profits generated are inadequate; lack of commodity diversity and transportation to market also post challenges to generate enough income. About 67% of Udandans are either poor or highly vulnerable to poverty; over 8.4 million people are in absolute poverty and over 23 millions are prone to poverty. These agricultural communities are vulnerable to drought, floods, high price for food and low price for agricultural products, depleting assets and saving in respond to shocks, worsening their situation.
Their production are also limited by poor farming methods and climate change, as most of the rural community rely on their own growing for food, they are prone to hunger and famine.
Infrastructures and facilities to cater basic needs such as medical service, electricity and sanitation are still lacking in the community despise of the dire need, and put them into deeper vulnerability. Over 50% of the populations have no access to clean drinking water, 66% has no access to improved sanitation facilities and only 9% have access to electricity. They are thus prone to a variety of sickness such as diarrhea, malaria and pneumonia. Yet medical services are often inaccessible due to the distance and fees.
Uganda has a high number of orphans, there are currently over 2.6 billion orphans and many of them are orphaned by HIV/AIDS. They are often being cared for by relatives or neighbors, yet it strains on the extended family’s finance, further limits their access to adequate nutrition, education and opportunity to improve living.
Where We Operate
Women are traditionally discriminated and suffer from lower social status, thus faces a wide range of challenges. In rural areas, women work longer hours than men, bear the double burden of earning the family’s living and caring for the young and elderly. Yet due to the dominance of men they only have limited access to resources and control over what they produce. Many young girls began sexually active at a young age for economic survival thus under great risk of infecting HIV. Insufficient medical and social services, such as lack of adequate delivery care, put them in further disadvantages.
According to the Uganda Chronic Poverty Report in 2005, elderly person with disabilities, widowed, and looking after orphans, live alone and in rural areas are most vulnerable to chronic poverty. There are many factors contribute to their vulnerability, such as ill health, no sources of income, lack of support from their children and relatives, responsible for taking care orphans and exclusion from social services. Currently there is no social security system for them to rely on.
According to World Bank Uganda has the youngest population at 83%, after Niger. Yet 62% of Ugandan youth are unemployed; many of them are under-educated due to inability to pay for school fees, responsibility of taking care of younger siblings or pregnancy before marriage. Without academic qualification they are unable to find employment and thus trapped in poverty. Many has turned to begging and prostitution for money and involved in drug abuse. They are prone to the treat of unsafe working condition, HIV infection, and inadequate access to basic needs such as food and healthcare. Around 400,000 youth are released into the job market every year competing for 9,000 jobs.
Thou the Ugandan government have instated Universal Primary Education and remove the school fee for primary school, result in dramatic increase of primary school enrollment to over 80%. But students still have to pay the school fee for secondary school and other schooling materials such as books and uniforms, which post a great burden on many families. Especially a lot of them are orphaned by HIV/ AIDS and being cared by relatives; putting further strain on the pocketbook of the extended family to care for each children’s education. Only 17% can participate in secondary school. Higher education is extremely hard to access, only 1.23% of the population have access to it in contrast to 10% in Africa. It is also common for students to suffer from mal-nutrition.