We have been active in Uganda since 1981. Currently we support some 351,800 children and young people in 11 projects distributed throughout this East African country. Our on-site work is conducted via local partners.


Combating poverty and AIDS

Uganda ranks among the poorest countries in the world. The economic progress of recent years has merely improved the lives of a small minority of the population. After years of success in HIV/AIDS prevention, the rate of infection has begun to rise again. 2.6 million children are orphans, 1.1 million of them because of HIV/AIDS. They live with relatives, alone with their siblings or on the streets, usually do not attend school and will also live in poverty as adults. One in four children has to work.

Our projects pave the way for children and their families to free themselves from poverty. Women in self-help groups help to ensure that orphans and street children are supported and protected in village communities. Education programmes raise young people's awareness of the importance of protecting themselves from becoming infected with HIV and help to stop the disease from spreading.

The challenges

A smal girls carries a baby. (Source: Alexander Volkmann/Thüringer Allgemeine)
Thousands of Aids orphans have to care for theirselves and their siblings.

In recent years, the economic situation in Uganda has improved – thanks to support from the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund and other organisations. The poverty rate has dropped to 25 percent. But corruption, a rapidly growing population and the increasing spread of HIV/AIDS are preventing all Ugandans from benefiting from these advances. People in northern Uganda in particular live in dire poverty.

Uganda was long a prime example of successful HIV/AIDS education, with a rate of infection that was lower than in many neighbouring countries. But now Uganda is the only country in East and Southern Africa with an increasing incidence of the disease. Over 1 million children have become orphans due to HIV/AIDS and an additional 1.5 million girls and boys have lost their parents during the long civil war. They are generally provided for by relatives and neighbours who are poor themselves, or they live alone as families of children or end up on the streets.

The government has invested a great deal in free primary and secondary school education. Yet here as well the positive developments of recent years cannot keep pace with the growth in population: Every year, one million more children start school.

  • Our work in the country

    We combat poverty in rural areas With our highly successful self-help group programme women from the poorest families join forces, solve their problems together, save small amounts of money, which together have a major impact for families when they are, in turn, granted as loans. The women learn how to read, write and do arithmetic, open small businesses and learn how they can achieve better harvests. The revenues from these activities primarily benefit children, who attend school and receive healthy meals. At many centres young people and adults learn skills that they can use to earn a living. Entire villages undergo major developments and make the jump out of poverty. Street children and orphans are no longer on their own. Instead, they are placed in foster families and integrated into society.

    An additional area of focus is HIV/AIDS education in schools, churches and village communities along with trauma work with orphans, who have trouble coping after their parents’ deaths.

    Safeguarding children's rights constitutes the basis of our work. All of our partners receive training concerning children's rights and how they can be safeguarded during daily project and programme work.

  • Key figures on Uganda

    • 36 million people live in Uganda
    • The population annually grows by 3.2 % 
    • The average life expectancy in Uganda is 54 years
    • 38 % of the population lives below the poverty line*
    • 1.6 million people live with HIV/AIDS (6th highest incidence of AIDS in the world)
    • 7 % of the 15 to 49-year-olds become infected with HIV/AIDS every year (10th highest rate in the world)
    • 2.7 million children are orphans, 1 million of them because of AIDS*
    • 25 % of children between the ages of five and 14 have to work
    • 10 % of all girls have been forcibly married by the age of 15*

    Sources: World Factbook, United Nations*

Uganda: Education for girls

Uganda: Education for girls

In the north of Uganda many girls have to stay at home, do household chores and care for their families. We have launched a project that gives these girls the opportunity to get an education and build a future for themselves.

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A visit in Uganda

A visit in Uganda

Beate Lühder and her husband are supporting a foster child in Uganda since 2015. Last year she used a vacation in Tanzania to visit the 10 year old girl in the neighboring country.

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An overview of our projects and countries

An overview of our projects and countries

We are currently supporting almost 1.9 million children in 33 countries. Click here to read selected project descriptions.

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