Uganda – a country of kids (in need)

Uganda is a very “young” country: a full 46 percent of the popu­la­tion are chil­dren under the age of 14!

The average age of Ugan­da’s entire popu­la­tion (47.3 people as of 2022) is 15.7 years — thanks to 21 million chil­dren. Of these, 2 million, or almost 10 percent, no longer have parents. Like the majority of the chil­dren of HOREMI … In the capital Kampala alone, 15,000 orphans are report­edly strug­gling as street chil­dren. They often become victims of child traf­ficking, sexual exploita­tion, drug traf­fickers or dangerous child labor in gold mines. AIDS is also a major problem: Currently, nearly 100,000 chil­dren under the age of 14 alone are said to be infected with HIV.

Despite some improve­ments in recent decades, Uganda remains one of the poorest coun­tries in the world. Educa­tion still is an unaf­ford­able commodity for many fami­lies. The situ­a­tion is partic­u­larly precar­ious in rural areas, where almost 80 percent of the people live, espe­cially in northern Uganda. Here, parents are often forced to send their chil­dren to work instead of school, or to marry off girls far too young so that the entire family can make ends meet. In the days of Corona, when Uganda set the world record with complete school closures lasting almost two years, this trend was further fueled — with fatal conse­quences for the future of the chil­dren and the country. After all, educa­tion is the most impor­tant way out of poverty.

Uganda in numbers


Annual income

47.3 million


46 percent


2 million


15.7 years

Average age

Life expectancy and causes of death

The health care system in Uganda has devel­oped, but there are still only a maximum of 9 physi­cians per 100,000 inhab­i­tants — depending on the region, signif­i­cantly fewer.

Life expectancy is currently around 63.7 years, and infant mortality has declined but is still close to 6 percent. A woman has an average of 4.7 chil­dren during her life­time, and 0.43 percent of mothers die during child­birth or as a result of it. To stay healthy, access to clean water is elemen­tary — but only 56 percent are granted it. Accord­ingly, diar­rheal diseases are the fifth leading cause of death (5.8%), espe­cially among chil­dren. However, AIDS (HIV) ranks first among the causes of death with over 10 percent, followed by influenza/pneumonia (9 %) and malaria (6.5 %). Road traffic deaths have increased enor­mously, now occu­pying 4th place with almost 6.3%.


With a gross national product of less than $1,000 per capita per year, Uganda is a very poor country. As recently as 2003, 82 % of the working popu­la­tion earned less than one dollar a day. The main exports are coffee and bananas, but tea, fish, tobacco and cocoa also play a role. In 2022, large gold deposits were discov­ered and oil is also increas­ingly being extracted — at the expense of the envi­ron­ment and even inside protected national parks, which play a major role in tourism. If any of the revenue from the gold and oil boom will actu­ally reach the people also remains to be seen.


School educa­tion in Uganda lasts 16 years, including 3 years of nursery. Since 1997, atten­dance at elemen­tary school (7 years) and now secondary school (4 years middle, 2 years high school) in state schools has offi­cially been free of charge.  The average length of school atten­dance increased from 2.8 years in 1990 to 6.2 years in 2015. But to maxi­mize literacy rates (76.5% in 2018), for-profit, fee-based private schools were also allowed. Today, 27 percent of elemen­tary schools and 66 percent of secondary schools are private. Over­crowded class­rooms with 60 to 80 students and a lack of equip­ment do not make it easy for chil­dren to learn. Effec­tive inde­pen­dent quality control, espe­cially of private schools, is lacking.

Private schools charge an average of $130 per child per year, and fees increase with grade level; school supplies, uniforms and exams usually cost extra. For low-income fami­lies, this is an insur­mount­able hurdle. And so far, only 15 percent of students attend secondary school; the average length of school atten­dance in 2015 was around 6.3 years. Two-thirds of chil­dren leave school prema­turely without grad­u­ating. So there is still a long way to go before the declared goal of 11.4 years of average school atten­dance is achieved.


At 241,550 km², land­locked Uganda covers an area equiv­a­lent to about 68 percent of that of Germany. About 36,000 km², or 15 percent, of it is taken up by rivers and lakes, the largest being Lake Victoria. Uganda is surrounded by its neigh­bors South Sudan, Kenya, Tanzania, Rwanda and the DR Congo. The capital is Kampala, which is home to nearly 5 million people and about 10 percent of the popu­la­tion (47.3 million).

Peoples and religions

47.3 million people were living in Uganda at the end of 2022. If the current popu­la­tion growth of 2.9% continues, the number would almost double by 2060 …

Uganda unites around 60 ethnic groups, some with their own languages, cultures and reli­gions. The largest groups are Bantu (60 %), Nilotes and Hami­tonilotes (together 24 %). Most believers are Chris­tians (85 %), followed by Sunni Muslims (13.7 %) and the Pente­costal move­ment (11.1 %). Recently, more­over, the influ­ence of the Evan­gel­ical Church from the United States has been increasing.

History and government

Since the 15th century Uganda was a kingdom, from 1894 it was a British protec­torate and since October 1962 the country has been inde­pen­dent. The first pres­i­dent was King Mutesa, and the first prime minister was Milton Obote, who deposed the king in 1966. After a mili­tary coup in 1971, Idi Amin began his reign of violence, and Obote took over again from 1980 to 1986. In terms of human rights viola­tions through terror, torture and murder of oppo­si­tion members the two dicta­tors were in no way infe­rior. In 1986 Museveni took over the pres­i­dency after a guer­rilla war, and the first elec­tions followed in 1989. Today Uganda is a pres­i­den­tial republic with a one-party system that uses both auto­cratic and demo­c­ratic elements. The pres­i­dent is still Pres­i­dent Museveni, who has been in office for 37 years and was last confirmed in 2021. The offi­cial languages are English and Swahili.

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