Located between South Sudan and the Democratic Republic of Congo, while also struggling against the Lord’s Resistance Army, hunger in Uganda is a major issue that the country, as well as 800,000 refugees, are facing every day. Uganda as a whole produces more food than it consumes, but because of the prevalence of poverty in the country, many of its 39 million people cannot afford to buy all of the food they need.
Only 4 percent of households in Uganda have had food security over the past six years. This is related to the food shortages and destitute diets that have also come from dealing with climate change, urbanization, the inconsistencies of Ugandan policies and poor public financing.
Hunger in Uganda has also been caused by the lack of water. A growing population has led to stresses on water and sanitation services. 24 million people in rural areas do not have access to water, which has increased the incidence of water-related diseases such as diarrhea and dysentery. Each week, 30,000 deaths are caused by unsafe water.
The lack of food has led to malnutrition among children, including refugees. It has been estimated that 33 percent of children under five are enduring chronic undernourishment and stunted growth. Only one in three children actually have food to eat during the day, while stunting affects 29 percent of children and rises to 40 percent in certain areas and among refugees.
Organizations like Action Against Hunger have made efforts to help Uganda. They focus on nutrition, health and care practices, and have helped 148,420 people. They have been able to reach some of the most vulnerable children in refugee settlements and treat life-threatening malnutrition. Action Against Hunger has helped strengthen the local capacity while training locals to be able to provide treatment. They have plans to help prevent malnutrition as well as to gather more information on malnutrition in order to prevent it in the future.
The World Food Programme also helps Uganda by providing cash and food assistance to people in need. They have also set up the “cash/food-for-work” program to ensure there is food during the lean seasons. This program helps communities build tree farms, orchards, irrigation systems, water ponds and dams to help them better endure droughts.
While the poverty rate in Uganda has declined from 31 to 19.7 percent, the fact that the population is still growing means that the number of poor people has not decreased. To combat this, the work the aforementioned groups are doing is vital to help Ugandans become self-sufficient in growing food and end hunger in Uganda.
– Chavez Spicer