Refugee Response Settlement Monitoring Fact-sheet

Uganda Refugee Response Monitoring Settlement Factsheet: Bidibidi | June 2018

Bidibidi settlement was established in September 2016 to host the rapid influx of South Sudanese refugees, primarily arriving from the Equatoria region. The settlement population increased rapidly to over 280,000 people, making it one of the largest refugee settlements in the world. As of December 2016, Bidibidi reached maximum capacity and stopped accepting new arrivals.

Gaps & Challenges

  • There are only few clean water sources available to the population in Bidibidi. Long distance to the water points, long waiting lines and high congestion are issues facing refugees collecting water. The few existing boreholes are of poor quality, nationals reported repairs of the boreholes are continuously delayed. The water supplied is insufficient, which is exacerbated by the dry season. As sources dry up, both refugees and nationals are forced to collect water from unprotected water sources. Furthermore, the poor latrine coverage in the settlement has led to increased open defecation, which further deteriorates the hygiene and sanitation in Bidibidi.
  • Access to quality education is limited for both refugees and the surrounding host community. Schools are few with insufficient classrooms and insufficient teachers leading to low teacher per student ratios. This was reported to severely inhibit the students’ learning environment. This is further deteriorated by the lack of school materials and lack of training for teachers. Moreover, the absence of vocational training institutions limits the opportunities available for students unable to access secondary school or those unable to access tertiary education. This significantly reduces their chances to access livelihoods opportunities in the future.
  • Refugees were provided with non-food items (NFIs), such as saucepans, solar lamps, mattresses and jerry cans, upon arrival to the settlement. These have, however not been re-distributed since the refugees’ arrival, which therefore means they are for the most part worn out or broken. This forces refugees to share with their neighbors and take it in turns to cook. The lack of access to functional NFIs reduces the living standards of refugees.
  • Both refugees and nationals face important challenges in accessing livelihoods opportunities. Refugees, in particular, struggle to access land for agricultural activities. The land provided to them upon arrival is insufficient to cultivate crops and the cost of hiring land is expensive. Moreover, those that do have access to land struggle to harvest their crops as the land is infertile and they have not received improved seeds adapted to the harsh climate conditions. Nationals highlighted they also struggle to access livelihoods training opportunities preventing them from acquiring the skills needed for employment.
  • Child protection was reported as a significant gap in Bidibidi settlement. Refugees highlighted child-headed households are not provided with the appropriate services they need. Moreover, children, particularly young girls, are often sent to collect firewood for their families far from the settlement, which has led to cases of rape and sexual and gender based violence (SGBV). Additionally, theft was reported to be an issue in the settlement where food items are often stolen at night.

For more, follow the link https://reliefweb.int/report/uganda/uganda-refugee-response-monitoring-settlement-fact-sheet-bidi-bidi-june-2018

Refugee Education in Uganda

Uganda Launched refugee verification report 2018

Refugee Education in Uganda

The pupils of Luru Primary School in Palorinya settlement in Moyo are among the refugees to be verified.

Uganda launches major refugee verification operation

With the support of UNHCR, government officials are using biometric data to verify more than 1 million refugees in the country.



OVC under ECHO Supported project by Windle International Uganda

Africa, the Land of Beauty& Warriors: a Poem by a S2 student of Valley View SS in Bidibidi Refugee Settlement.

One of the 5 core strategic areas of Windle International Uganda is Youth Engagement where the young people are encouraged through creative arts to express themselves through Music, Dance, and Drama.


Keeping cattle for the beef is his retirement bank

My name is Januario Bamurumba, 77 years of age, a resident of Kyamusyoka Village Kabingo Sub-county, Isingiro District but with roots in Bushenyi District and a home in Mbarara Municipality.

I decided to invest my retirement package in beef ranching and consider it a safe way to keep my money than the bank.
Previously, in the 1970s, I had been keeping the Ankole long-horned cattle while at the same time dealing in beer. Then, I was an agent of Uganda Breweries under Ankole Original Traders.
After being with these local breeds for about 20 years, I realised they were not giving me the returns I needed. This was because the milk production was very low yet they were expensive to look after. I could not cope with the rigours of maintaining milk cattle and also continue with the beer business.
I found out that milk cattle are very delicate and needed my supervision most of the time yet I had to pursue the other business.
By the time I changed from dairy to beef farming, I had less land so I had to buy more. Currently, my ranch sits on a square mile of land.

Why keep beef animals

I decided to change to keeping beef animals, which require less care yet the returns are very high. The natural choice at that time was the Boran. At that time I had 100 heads of Ankole long-horned cattle, which I crossbred with the Boran cattle.

Boran cattle require less labour, grow very fast, multiply easily and bring in faster returns on investment. Besides, they have very good tender meat, which is much sought after by the consumers in the market.
At one and a half years, the well-fed animals especially the bulls will have attained the required weight of about 300kg and I am able to sell them at about Shs 1.2m. Recently, I introduced the Brahman beef cattle from Kenya on my farm.

I have since further developed the ranch by fencing it off, I dug two dams to provide a constant source of water. I am in the process of introducing the water into every paddock to avoid driving the animals to the water points, which they are currently using.
Initial capital
I first bought 230 hectares of land at Shs1m in 1972 and later 100 hectares at Shs15m.
I started with a stock of 100 heads of cattle, which have since multiplied to 400. Running a ranch is not very difficult but I meet some challenges like retaining workers as they keep moving from farm to farm.
I sell animals to traders and other farmers interested in beef ranching. A mature bull, which weighs about 600kg goes for Shs3m while a cow will fetch between Shs1.5m and Shs2m.

I spend about Shs20m on maintenance and make Shs80m annually from the sales of about 120 heads of cattle. Iam assured of the market because of the quality of animals on my farm. Because of the demand, traders usually call me to confirm whether I have the animals before coming for them.
To get good quality animals I have been importing Boran bulls from breeders in Kenya and I have no regrets because the results are there for everybody to see. The last bull I bought cost me Shs7m.
It is surprising that while many animals die during the drought, I have never lost any animals since I started beef farming in such circumstances because the Boran can withstand harsh conditions.
During the 1999 dry season, which was the harshest in the recent times in the Ankole region, very many people lost their animals.
But I never lost even one yet the animals went for a whole month without adequate pastures. They were literally “eating soil and drinking water because it is one of the major component in cattle keeping; they survived because of water.
This is what drove me to love the animals more and also to dig two dams and acquire a water pump to improve the water delivery.


To stem off tick-borne diseases, I dip the cattle once a week and regularly use veterinary services from the service providers in Mbarara. However the ticks have become resistant to the drugs.
Currently, I am faced with the challenge of drug supplies as some are counterfeit while the dip tanks services from the ministry of agriculture are wanting.
Dip tanks drugs should be tested periodically but the machine in Entebbe no longer works, this puts our animals at risk because I only guess when to add in more drugs in the dip.

During the dry season, the ranch is faced with pasture shortage and I have so sell off many animals to avoid losses.
Workers are difficult to keep on the ranch because they keep moving between jobs. At times, they leave at a crucial time when I need them most like during the dry season. I have nine workers including their supervisor.
Cattle keeping is my retirement package, an activity that keeps me on my toes. I did not need a lot of money to inject in the ranch.
This is the best “bank I have and it has enabled me to pay school fees for my five grandchildren in various universities, mine having finished their studies a long time ago.
I have also built a very good house in Mbarara and I have also laid a firm foundation for my children. Some are in business while others work in offices.
I would want my son to take over and may be look into the possibility of value addition like selling the meat instead of live animals and I believe we shall reach that level in the near future.


He established the fish farm as a family business

My name is Paul Ssekyewa. I am a fish seed producer and a grow-out farmer. Actually I should speak in the first person plural and say “We are fish seed producers and grow-out farmers, because I am just the managing director in our family business known as Ssenya Fish Farm located at Ssenya Village, five miles from Masaka along the Masaka-Kiwangala Road.

It is run and owned by all of us under Nalubowa Lusembo and Co. Estates. My wife, Rita, is the deputy managing director. Nalubowa, a vet and an accountant, is our first daughter and Lusembo, a Catholic priest, is our first son. Our other children are also part of the business including Pauline Nakyewa, a fisheries scientist.

As a young man, I trained as an accountant and I worked with Masaka Co-operative Union for close to 13 years before venturing into self employment in 1987.

Started young

My interest in farming started while I was young, having been born in a farming family. My father kept cows and grew coffee in Kyebe Sub-county near Lake Victoria. So I grew up eating fish.
In 1980 we acquired about 100 acres of land in Kajjansembe River Valley near Masaka Town. We began with crop production but in 1982-1983, we introduced livestock and poultry.
In 1985, we started animal and poultry feeds production on our farm. Poultry was quite paying and at one time we had about 6,000 layers and we would collect about 150 trays per day.
Later, in 1988, we were beneficiaries of a European Union loan granted through the then Uganda Commercial Bank, under the Development Finance Division, that further boosted our poultry farming and enabled us to put up more buildings.
However poultry keeping became complicated when through the Barter Trade system, the government allowed the importation of chicks from southern Africa. Due diligence had not been applied to their importation because they were not accompanied with the medications and vaccination drugs to fortify them against diseases from their areas of origin.
Most of the farmers lost their stocks to the new disease known as Gumboro. We opted to suspend poultry on the farm as a result.

Tap opportunity

We went into fish farming in 1998 through advice from a visiting friend to make use of a water logged spot on our farm. With the help of the District Fisheries officer, the late Okello, we were able to make our first fish pond and to stock it with tilapia and the cat fish in 1999/2000 with a view to have fish for our family consumption and to sell the surplus.
However around 2002, the government came up with a programme to stock farmers� fish ponds and minor water bodies and we thought we could tap into the opportunity by becoming fish seed producers.
But we did not have the technology and the infrastructure and so we had to bring in scientists from Kenya to teach my wife, our two children, and myself about fish hatchery management and practices.
We supplemented the training with reading books on aquaculture and we begun producing fish fingerings.
Our daughter, Pauline, went ahead to study aquaculture at Makerere University. Some of my children and I have sought hands-on exposure by visiting other fish farming units in the USA, Norway, the Netherlands, Ghana, Kenya, Israel, Egypt, Thailand, and China.
Today we have about 40 fish ponds and we have the capacity to produce 500,000 catfish fingerings and 250,000 tilapia fingerlings per month. Catfish fingerlings cost between Shs160 and Shs400 depending on size and volume.
Tilapia fingerlings cost between Shs90 and Shs250, again depending on size and volume. We produce both mono-sexed and mixed-sex tilapia fingerings.

Other activities

Seeing that the demand for fish seed was seasonal most of the time, we decided to direct our main effort to grow-out, that is, growing fish for consumption. As we talk now, we have 40,000 tilapia growers (150 grams and above) for table consumption. We are soon to stock 50,000 more tilapia in a month from now. We also practice pond cage fish farming. We sell fish to both the neighbouring villages and buyers from DR Congo and Rwanda at an average of Shs7,000 per kilogramme.
We also carry out trainings of farm mangers, helping those that want to set up fish farms with site planning and pond construction, supplying brood stock to fish seed farmers, selling fish handling and harvesting equipment, supplying larvae feed for catfish and tilapia as well as sinking pellets for juveniles and mature fish. We collaborate with the National Agricultural Research Organisation (Naro) in the propagation, domestication and conservation of local fish species, Uganda Carp (kisinja) and Victoria Carp (ningu) We also work with Makerere University in relation to on-farm based research and the Japanese International Cooperation Agency (Jica) on the integrated rice-fish production.

Abundant resources

Fish farming unfortunately has not yet been given the attention it deserves in Uganda. The global trend is that 40 per cent of the fish is farmed. Out of this, Africa farms only between one and three per cent. Most of this is produced by Egypt, which alone grows more fish than all the fish caught in Uganda�s lakes. Yet that country rears all its fish with the water supplied by the Nile which comes from Uganda.
Our appeal to the government and fellow farmers is to invest more in fish farming, considering the abundant water resources we have.
Fish farming is sustainable, it reduces pressure on capture fisheries, and it is also a source of income and high protein food to the farmers and the rest of the population.
Schools and other learning insitutions, right from the primary level, should include fish farming in their activities. Otherwise, it is laughable that we should have schools located near water bodies, which only teach crop agriculture in school gardens.