Empowering refugees to legally work in their host country

Uganda Refugee Response villages

Uganda is known for having introduced a progressive refugee hosting policy. Designed to allow for the freedom of movement for refugees. In addition to the right to work for those who have settled within its boundaries. Within the refugee settlements, refugees are assigned a plot of land and encouraged to develop these plots for agricultural and residential use. Refugees need not be considered a burden if they are allowed to work in their host country.


As of April 2018, Uganda is now Africas largest refugee-hosting country, with over 1.4 million refugees. Over 1,053,598 of these refugees originate from South Sudan, with the remaining figures composed of people from places such as the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Burundi and Somalia. Between January and April 2018, according to IOM figures over 21,000 refugees arrived from South Sudan. Most have settled in Uganda’s West Nile region. A staggering 80% of these refugees are women and children.

Data The World Bank

Jobs for refugees

Host communities rent land to settlements in Uganda. An example would be a village in the North West who accommodated refugees from South Sudan a few years ago. Some of the aims of the landowners were to bring the area closer to achieving new schools, roads and other amenities.

Refugees working their land, working in local businesses and contributing to the local economy has been found to be beneficial to the growth of villages and towns. Refugees are more likely to thrive and integrate if legally they are able to move freely and work.

‘One study from 2016 found that the presence of Congolese refugees in western Uganda had increased consumption per household. Another estimates that each new refugee household boosts total local income, including that of refugees, by $320-430 more than the cost of the aid the household is given. That rises to $560-670 when refugees are given cash instead of rations.’ The Economist


Currently, due to a shortfall in funding, of ‘$443m. Health and education services are expanding too slowly: one school has 4,200 students and just 16 teachers. In the past, refugees in Uganda got one-hectare parcels of land. New arrivals get smaller, stony plots, big enough to grow household greens, but not a surplus.’ The Economist

The UNHCR Uganda refugee response monitoring settlement fact sheet for Rhino Camp in January 2018 gives an indication of plot sizes for that settlement. Refugees need not be considered a burden if they are allowed to work in their host country.


Image: UNHCR
Image: UNHCR



Image: pp70 UNHCR/INICEF/GoU/WFP Food Security and Nutrition Assessment in Host Community Final Report


Read More

The Economist: Refugees need not be a burden if they are allowed to work

“Yes in my backyard? The economics of refugees and their social dynamics in Kakuma, Kenya”, by Apurva Sanghi, Harun Onder and Varalakshmi Vemuru, World Bank Group, 2016

UNHCR Uganda refugee response monitoring settlement fact sheet for Rhino Camp in January 2018

Uganda Refugee Response villages

Uganda – Refugee Price Monitoring Jan – Mar 2018 Kyaka II, Rwamwanja, Kyangwali, Kiryandongo, Rhino camp, Adjumani/Pakelle, Koboko, Bidibidi, Imvepi

UNHCR : Uganda Refugee Response Monitoring Settlement Fact Sheet: Kyangwali| March 2018


AGORA – BWAISE II NEIGHBORHOOD PROFILE Urban community assessment Kampala, Uganda – July 2018

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