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In Uganda

Country update

This video was released in July 2022.
If you've been inspired to sponsor a child from Uganda, visit our sponsorship page.

Pray for Uganda

Pray with us for:

Wisdom for those in government and other positions of leadership

Protection for all Ugandans – particularly their health and security

A sense of calm, encouragement, and support across the nation

Did you know?

Bark cloth is a traditional Ugandan textile made by pounding the bark of a fig tree. It can be used to make clothes as well as hats, bags, decorations and more.

Sponsor a child in Uganda

Child sponsorship with Compassion is a unique opportunity to provide a child with food, clean water, shelter, clothing and medical care.

Life in Uganda

Official Country Name: Republic of Uganda

Capital City: Kampala

Population: More than 47.2 million

Official Languages: Swahili, English

Life expectancy: Male 60 years, female 65 years

Population with access to safe drinking water: 17%

Infant mortality rate: 31 deaths / 1,000 live births

Percentage of children under the age of 5 underweight: 10.4%

Adult literacy rate: Male 84%, female 74%

Religion: Approximately 43% of the population are Protestant, 39% are Roman Catholic, 14% are Muslim and 4% are of another/unspecified religion or none.

Percentage living on less than $2.15 a day: 42.2%

Source: CIA World Factbook, International Religious Freedom Report, released in 2022 by the Office of International Religious Freedom, U.S. Department of State

The eastern part of Uganda was occupied around 250 years ago by the largely nomadic Nilo-Hamitic tribes. These tribes engaged in long-distance trade with Arab nations and some of their neighbours.

Uganda was one of the last regions of Africa to be accessed by European in 1862. And while it became a British Protectorate in 1894, it was never fully colonised.

Independence movements began to gather momentum in the 1950s, and by 1962, Uganda was granted self-rule. In 1971, a military coup toppled the country’s first government. Army commander Idi Amin took control, looting the country and killing opponents and members of their tribes.

In 1978, he attempted to invade Tanzania but was defeated by exiled Ugandans (loyal to the former president Milton Obote) and Tanzanian troops. Amin’s regime came to an end in 1979, by which time around 300,000 of his opponents had lost their lives. Guerrilla war and human rights abuses under Milton Obote from 1980 to 1985 claimed the lives of a further 100,000 people.

In 1986, Yoweri Museveni took power in another military coup and remained president. He abolished term limits, and every re-election has been accused of fraud and manipulation. However, Uganda has experienced relative stability and economic growth since 1986.

Between 1988 and 2008, Northern Uganda was terrorised by Josef Kony’s Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA). The LRA are known for kidnapping child soldiers, abusing them, and forcing them to commit unspeakable acts of violence.

In a referendum in 2005, Ugandans voted for a return to multiparty politics. Museveni, who had long argued against a multiparty democracy, believed it would divide the country along ethnic lines, embraced the referendum and accepted the results.

Ugandan art includes woven textiles, pottery, sculpture, oral poetry, ritual dance, and drama.

There is plenty of music in Uganda with traditional African drums and dances playing a significant role.

English, inherited from the colonial period, and Swahili are the official languages in Uganda. The latter was added in 2005. Luganda, on the other hand, is the language of the biggest ethnic group in central Uganda.

Luganda: Olyotya? (How are you?), Gyendi. (I am well.), Nze bampita ... (My name is …), Webale. (Thank you.) Runyankole/Rukiga: Agandi? (How are you?), Nimarungyi. (I am well.), Nibanyeta ... (My name is …), Webare (Thank you.)

Sports and Games
Ugandans enjoy football, boxing, basketball, golf, and cricket. The country also hosts many other recreational activities including hiking and climbing, watching gorillas, fishing, white-water rafting, sailing, and bird watching.

Typical Foods
Ugandans eat many foods, including bananas, corn, rice, sweet potatoes, cassava, beans, and indigenous vegetables. 


The typical school year runs from January to November. Education is encouraged and seen in most parts of the country as a very important stepping stone to success.

Education is compulsory for children between the ages of six and 13. 84% of children aged between six and 12 attend primary school, but only 40% are literate at the end of primary school and just one in four children who starts primary school makes it to secondary school.

Classrooms facilities are limited, and classrooms are congested, with an average of 42 students to every teacher in Uganda. This figure is likely higher in rural communities where schools struggle to recruit and keep qualified educators.

Secondary education is still inaccessible to most adolescents. Just 19.4% of teenagers are enrolled in secondary education. It’s a particular challenge for girls, and many drop out early to get married or due to teenage pregnancy. Current statistics indicate that 34% of women are married before the age of 18 and 7.3% before the age of 15.

Makerere University, the biggest and oldest university in East Africa, is in Kampala. For several decades, this was the only university in Uganda. However, in recent years several universities have emerged to give options to the increasing number of students.

Source: UNICEF, World Bank

Approximately 43% of the population are Protestant, 39% are Roman Catholic, 14% are Muslim and 4% are of another/unspecified religion or none.
There is no state religion, and the constitution allows for freedom of religion. The country’s coat of arms bears the motto “For God and My Country.” The law prohibits secular broadcasters from sharing their opinions on religious doctrine or faith.
In many areas, particularly in rural settings, indigenous beliefs are blended into or observed alongside recognised religions, particularly in areas that are predominantly Christian.
The majority of students in the country attend schools run by religious organisations. Primary schools must teach either Christianity, Islam, or both in their social studies classes. Many schools teach both and allow students to select which to attend. Secondary schools may choose which, if any, religious studies to incorporate into their curricula.
Statistics from the International Religious Freedom Report, released in 2022 by the Office of International Religious Freedom, U.S. Department of State

Providing support in Uganda

After she decided to become a Christian, Hajarahh was abandoned by her husband. Unable to pay for rent and other basic necessities on her own, Hajarah was evicted from her home and forced to sleep in the bush wit

Compassion UK Christian Child Development, registered charity in England and Wales (1077216) and Scotland (SC045059). A company limited by guarantee, Registered in England and Wales company number 03719092. Registered address: Compassion House, Barley Way, Fleet, Hampshire, GU51 2UT.