The Government of Uganda has a liberal refugee policy (UNHCR, 2003) whereby
refugees are given freedom of movement within the country. Most refugees live in large
settlements across Uganda where they are provided with a small plot of agricultural
In 2017, some 68% of refugees in Uganda (UNHCR, Jan. 2017) were from South Sudan.
Ongoing conflict in South Sudan has resulted in an influx of refugees over recent years,
with more than 1 million South Sudanese refugees estimated to be living in Uganda in
2017 (UNHCR, Aug. 2017). In 2017, some 50,935 refugees and asylum seekers were
documented as living in Kiryandongo settlement (4% of the total number of refugees
living in settlements in Uganda) with 18,005 having arrived since December 2013 from
South Sudan. Many of these people have returned for a second time to this settlement
having gone home after the signing of the Sudan peace deal in 2005. The newly formed
state of South Sudan in 2011 saw ethnic clashes as well as border fighting with Sudan
which descended into civil war in 2013. Broken ceasefires, economic collapse and
famine in many parts of the country continue to this day. There are also small numbers
of refugees from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Kenya, Rwanda and Burundi
in the settlement.
This case study tells the story of how a Ugandan NGO, the Transcultural Psychosocial
Organisation Uganda (TPO Uganda), has involved the community in creating ChildFriendly Spaces to protect children in this complex and ever-changing environment.