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World Refugee Day 2024: Making a Difference in Uganda

Posted On: June 20, 2024
Farmer Grace Anite tends to her crops in the refugee settlement where she lives.

Uganda hosts 1.5 million refugees, more than any other country in Africa. While refugees who settle in rural areas of the country are provided with small plots of land for home and agricultural use, most need to gain the skills and knowledge to be successful farmers.

Through hands-on training from East-West Seed Knowledge Transfer Foundation (EWS-KT), refugees in the West Nile and Western regions of Uganda are learning how to grow fresh vegetables.

For refugees like Grace Anite, vegetable farming can offer a sustainable livelihood while boosting family nutrition.

Grace fled war-torn South Sudan with her children in 2017, finding refuge in Rhino Camp refugee settlement in the West Nile region of Uganda. Back home, Grace was a businesswoman and a shopkeeper, not a farmer. But as support from the World Food Programme decreased, she set her hopes on growing extra food to ensure a more balanced diet for her children. She planted some seeds, but with scarce water and poor soil, little grew.

Grace’s circumstances changed for the better when an EWS-KT project began in her area in late 2022. Co-funded by the Arab Gulf Programme for Development (AGFUND), the project focused on improving food security and incomes in Rhino Camp.

“The project’s approach—offering training right away in my own garden plot—offered a solution to the challenges I was facing,” she said.

With the practical training she received, the small plot of land allocated to her in the refugee settlement flourished, allowing her to serve nutrient-rich vegetables with every meal. Grace also began to sell a portion of her produce at a market stall in the settlement, earning income to pay for other household needs.

With her background as a businesswoman and her newfound knowledge of farming methods, Grace is just getting started. “I am planning to hire land from the host community during the rainy season to realize more profits, because there is a ready market for vegetables here in the settlement,” she said.

EWS-KT Uganda has shared sustainable vegetable growing techniques with refugees and host communities since 2018. EWS-KT is currently working in Kyaka II and Kyangwali settlement areas under a partnership with AVSI Foundation and is continuing to monitor and advise farmers in Imvepi and Rhino Camp settlements.

Learn more about our work with refugees and host communities on the Uganda page.