Is refugee self-reliance in Uganda a palatable myth: An Analysis

Is refugee self-reliance in Uganda a palatable myth: An Analysis

Practice and Scholarly Analysis

This article was initially published on Research Gate and is available for download here


Refugee self-reliance in Uganda has been a topic of discussion for many years. Uganda has been recognized for having one of the most progressive refugee policies in the world, with a focus on promoting self-reliance as a sustainable livelihood strategy.The Self-Reliance Strategy (SRS) was introduced in 1999 to support refugees’ efforts to become independent and self-reliant. The SRS allows refugees to choose their own places of residence, instead of restricting them to rural settlements. This policy has been praised for its ability to enhance refugees’ overall human security and support their efforts to become self-reliant. Uganda’s refugee policy has been successful in promoting self-reliance among refugees. The policy has allowed refugees to engage in entrepreneurial activities and participate in the informal sector The private sector has also played a role in supporting refugee livelihoods and self-reliance in Uganda. However, there are still challenges that refugees face in achieving self-reliance. These challenges include isolation, poverty, conflict, xenophobia, and inadequate living conditions. Refugee self-reliance has been a malleable concept used to pursue ulterior interests. The concept has been used to promote development and economic growth in refugee-hosting areas. However, it has also been used to justify the reduction of humanitarian aid and services to refugees. This has led to concerns that the promotion of self-reliance may be a palatable myth, as refugees may not have the resources or opportunities to achieve self-reliance in practice. Although. Uganda’s refugee policy has been successful in promoting self-reliance among refugees, the challenges that refugees face in achieving self-reliance remain a palatable myth that has been used to pursue ulterior interests, which has led to concerns. 

This article examines the concept of refugee self-reliance in Uganda, exploring whether it is a palatable myth or a complex reality. By analysing existing literature, reports, and case studies. I explore the multifaceted aspects of refugee self-reliance and its challenges in the Ugandan context. It also investigates the role of the Ugandan government, humanitarian organizations, and host communities in fostering self-reliance among refugees. The findings of this study suggest that while Uganda has made commendable efforts to promote self-reliance, various systemic, socio-economic, and political factors contribute to the complexities surrounding this issue.


Refugee self-reliance, Uganda refugee policies, Sustainable livelihood strategies, challenges in achieving self-reliance, Role of Government and humanitarian organizations in fostering self-reliance.



This article is part of the issue “Empowering Voices: Refugee-Led Strategic Analyses for a Sustainable Future”, a policy and strategic review publication edited by Luwaga Gyaviira (Media, Culture & Communication Researcher).

© 2023 by the author. This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY).


Refugee self-reliance has emerged as a prominent concept in the realm of refugee assistance, challenging conventional models by emphasizing the empowerment of refugees to actively contribute to their own livelihoods and host communities. Uganda, renowned for its progressive and generous refugee policies, has often been lauded as a leading example of promoting refugee self-reliance (UNHCR, 2020). With over 1.5 million refugees, primarily from South Sudan, the Democratic Republic of Congo, and Burundi, Uganda has become the largest refugee-hosting country in Africa and the third largest globally (World Bank, 2021).

Uganda’s commitment to refugee rights and inclusion is exemplified through policies that grant refugees the right to work, freedom of movement, access to public services, and land for housing and farming (UNHCR, 2019). The government’s Refugee and Host Population Empowerment (ReHoPE) strategy further aims to foster peaceful coexistence and self-reliance among refugees and host communities, while integrating refugees into the national development agenda (Government of Uganda, 2017).

However, despite these commendable efforts, the lived reality for many refugees in Uganda falls short of the ideal. Poverty,(Oxfam, 2020), insecurity, discrimination, (World Bank, 2021) and limited economic opportunities (Betts & Collier,2017) continue to impede their path to self-sufficiency. A recent report by the World Bank Group highlights that nearly half of the refugee population endures poverty and dire living conditions, in stark contrast to 17% of the host population (World Bank, 2021). Furthermore, challenges persist in achieving self-reliance through agricultural activities and job opportunities in non-agricultural sectors, particularly for vulnerable groups such as women and youth (World Bank, 2021).

The inflow of new arrivals has also strained the capacity of the public service delivery system and the availability of land for refugee use (Nantongo & Kaganzi, 2021), exacerbating the obstacles to self-reliance (UNHCR, 2019). Consequently, this article argues that the notion of refugee self-reliance in Uganda is more akin to a myth than a tangible reality, necessitating further exploration and targeted interventions to address the structural barriers and gaps that hinder refugees from realizing their full potential.

This article aims to critically examine the concept of refugee self-reliance in Uganda, delving into the implementation of Uganda’s refugee policies, identifying key challenges and constraints faced by refugees in their pursuit of self-reliance, and ultimately proposing recommendations to enhance the current situation. By shedding light on the complexities and gaps that exist within Uganda’s refugee response, this study seeks to contribute to a more comprehensive understanding of refugee self-reliance and the necessary steps for its realization.

Research Methodology

Research Design: This study adopted a mixed-methods research design to provide a comprehensive analysis of the concept of refugee self-reliance in Uganda. The mixed-methods approach allowed for the integration of both quantitative and qualitative data, enabling an in-depth exploration of the research question. The study included a documentary review and analysis, as well as data obtained from ChatGPT, an AI language model. 

Data Collection

The initial phase of data collection involved an extensive review of relevant documentary sources. This included scholarly articles, reports, policy documents, and academic publications that addressed the topic of refugee self-reliance in Uganda. The documentary review provided a foundation for understanding the existing literature, identifying key themes, and exploring various perspectives on the subject.

ChatGPT Data was utilized as a supplementary data source for this study. The model was trained on a diverse range of textual data, including news articles, books, and online content, up until September 2021. By engaging in a conversation, relevant insights and information regarding refugee self-reliance in Uganda were obtained. However, it is important to note that the responses provided were generated based on pre-existing data and have been critically evaluated for validity.

The study employed a purposive sampling strategy to select documentary sources for review. Relevant literature was identified through systematic searches of academic databases, such as Scopus and Web of Science, using keywords such as “refugee self-reliance,” “Uganda refugee policies,” “Sustainable livelihood strategies,” “challenges in achieving self-reliance,” “Role of Government and humanitarian organizations in fostering self-reliance,” “Uganda,” and “humanitarian response.” The selected sources represented a diverse range of authors, organizations, and perspectives, ensuring a comprehensive analysis of the topic.

The data collected from the documentary review were subjected to thematic analysis. Key themes and patterns were identified, and relevant information was extracted. The analysis involved coding the data to categorize information based on similarities and differences, allowing for the identification of recurring concepts, arguments, and perspectives. The responses obtained from ChatGPT were analyzed qualitatively, carefully reviewed, and relevant insights were extracted. However, it was crucial to critically assess the reliability and accuracy of the information provided considering its limitations as an AI model.

This study ensured ethical considerations by maintaining the confidentiality and anonymity of the data sources. The documentary sources and AI interactions were appropriately referenced and cited to acknowledge the contributions of the authors and organizations involved. Furthermore, consent was not required for the documentary review, as the data was publicly available and the use of ChatGPT adhered to OpenAI’s terms of service.

The limitations of this study: The reliance on documentary sources and OpenAI as the primary data sources may have introduced biases or limitations inherent to those sources. Additionally, the study was constrained by the availability of literature and the knowledge cutoff of ChatGPT, which was up until September 2021.

In recognition of the inherent limitations associated with AI models as a secondary data source, concerted efforts were undertaken to diversify the analysis and ensure a comprehensive study. Despite the valuable insights derived from ChatGPT interactions, it was acknowledged that relying solely on a single AI language model carried the risk of introducing bias and precluded access to real-time and context-specific information. Consequently, supplementary documentary sources were diligently reviewed to augment the findings. These additional sources encompassed scholarly articles, reports, and policy documents, carefully selected to provide a wide array of perspectives and facilitate a comprehensive examination of the subject matter pertaining to refugee self-reliance. The inclusion of these sources aimed to enhance the breadth and depth of analysis, facilitating a more robust comprehension of the research question.

Uganda’s refugee policies and their implementation

Uganda’s refugee policies, as enshrined in the Refugee Act (2006) and Refugee Regulations, are renowned for their progressive nature, granting refugees extensive rights and freedoms. These policies aim to promote the concept of self-reliance by providing refugees with opportunities for education, employment, and business ventures. The principle of non-discrimination and equality with Ugandan nationals underscores the inclusive approach towards refugees. This inclusive approach sets Uganda apart from many other countries hosting refugees. The policy envisions self-reliance as a key objective, aiming to integrate refugees into the national development agenda. The model encourages refugees to engage in agricultural activities, establish businesses, and access education and healthcare services.

Policy History:

Uganda’s Refugee Act of 2006 stands as a significant milestone in the country’s legislative framework concerning refugees. Praised by UNHCR as a “model for Africa,” this act grants refugees a range of rights and freedoms. According to Section 29(e), refugees are entitled to the same treatment as aliens in similar situations, allowing them to establish commercial and industrial companies in accordance with applicable laws (iv) and access employment opportunities and engage in gainful employment (vi). Additionally, Section 30 ensures that recognized refugees have the right to free movement within Uganda, with some limitations related to national security and public order.

The implementation of the Refugee Act in 2009 marked a pivotal moment, coinciding with Uganda hosting approximately 140,000 refugees. It superseded the Control of Aliens Refugee Act (1960), commonly referred to as CARA. Although CARA required refugees to reside in settlements and neglected certain aspects of international refugee law, it did acknowledge the right to work. Section 15 of CARA stated that arrangements should be made to offer employment to refugees, with appropriate wages aligned with similar work performed in Uganda. (UBOS, 2009)

While advocacy organizations like the Refugee Law Project (RLP, 2010) have acknowledged some deficiencies, loopholes, inadequacies, room for excesses, and ambiguities in the 2006 Act, particularly concerning the prohibition of refugees’ political activities and its vague definition of protection, the act has been widely recognized as a highly progressive piece of legislation. It notably recognizes refugees’ socio-economic rights, thereby positioning Uganda as a frontrunner in creating a legal framework that addresses the socio-economic challenges faced by refugees.

Alternative Supportive Frameworks

The implementation of the Comprehensive Refugee Response Framework (CRRF) and the Global Compact on Refugees (GCR) further emphasizes the integration of refugees into national systems and plans, focusing on education, health, and livelihoods. This alignment with national development plans, such as Vision 2040 and National Development Plan II, highlights the government’s commitment to long-term solutions for refugees.

The ReHoPE strategy serves as a national framework to operationalize these policies and enhance the resilience and self-reliance of both refugees and host communities. By providing land for housing and farming through a settlement approach, Uganda promotes integration and coexistence between refugees and host communities. Agricultural activities are encouraged as a means of livelihood, aligning with the country’s agricultural potential.

However, challenges persist in the implementation of these policies. Funding shortages and operational difficulties often result in inadequate and irregular humanitarian assistance, impeding refugees’ ability to achieve self-reliance (UNHCR, 2020). Additionally, the assumption that refugees should achieve self-reliance within two years of arrival overlooks the multiple obstacles they face, such as limited access to livelihood opportunities and markets.

To fully understand the impact of Uganda’s refugee policies on self-reliance, a comprehensive analysis should consider the broader political, social, economic, technological, gender, religious, and demographic landscape. Although studies have been undertaken to examine the regulatory framework, its assistance model, and its approach to refugee–host interaction. This distinction is important because all three areas are often lumped together when discussing the Ugandan self-reliance model, but they may well have different implications for refugee and host community welfare (Betts, A. et al ,2019).  These factors can either facilitate or hinder refugees’ journey towards self-reliance, shaping their experiences and opportunities within the host communities.

Therefore, for the validity of the self-reliance strategy, a cross-examination of each sector will provide empirical lessons that will promulgate a conclusive evaluation of how to improve the strategy.

Challenges and Constraints for refugee self-reliance

Despite Uganda’s progressive refugee policies and generous hospitality, many refugees still struggle to achieve self-reliance and dignity. Some of the main challenges and constraints that they face include:

Limited access to livelihood opportunities: Despite Uganda’s progressive refugee policies, refugees often face difficulties in accessing formal employment and income-generating activities. This limitation is attributed to factors such as language barriers, lack of recognized qualifications, and limited job opportunities in the local economy (Omata, 2017). As a result, many refugees are forced to engage in low-paying and precarious informal sector work, which hinders their ability to achieve sustainable self-reliance (Chaara et al., 2021).

Economic marginalization and poverty: Poverty and economic vulnerability are persistent challenges for refugees in Uganda. According to the World Bank (2021), nearly half of the refugee population in the country lives in poverty. Refugees often struggle to meet their basic needs and rely on humanitarian assistance for their survival (Betts & Collier, 2017). Insufficient access to financial resources, lack of capital for entrepreneurial ventures, and limited market integration further contribute to their economic marginalization (Betts et al., 2020). This is exacerbated by the ratio of people living below 1.90$ a day which is estimated at 41% in Uganda. The rates of poverty are high for nationals and therefore, refugees are bound to experience tougher financial challenges and poverty.

Inadequate infrastructure and basic services: The provision of basic infrastructure and services, such as healthcare, education, water, and sanitation, remains inadequate in many refugee settlements (Betts et al., 2020). Limited access to quality education and healthcare hampers refugees’ ability to acquire necessary skills and attain better livelihood prospects (Chaara et al., 2021). Insufficient infrastructure also undermines their capacity to engage in income-generating activities and limits their overall well-being.

Social and cultural barriers: Social and cultural factors present significant challenges to refugee self-reliance. Language barriers, cultural differences, and social exclusion can impede refugees’ integration into local communities and hinder their access to employment opportunities and social networks (Omata, 2017). Discrimination, stigma, and xenophobia may exacerbate these barriers and contribute to refugees’ marginalization and isolation (Betts & Collier, 2017).

Inadequate access to land and property:Despite the provision of land for housing and farming in rural settlements, land scarcity and competition pose challenges to refugees’ agricultural activities and self-sufficiency (Nantongo & Kaganzi, 2021). Limited land sizes, coupled with the growing refugee population, make it difficult for refugees to engage in sustainable farming practices and generate sufficient income (Betts et al., 2020).

Funding and operational constraints: Insufficient funding and operational challenges faced by humanitarian organizations and government agencies impact the provision of adequate and regular assistance to refugees (Betts et al., 2020). Funding shortages can lead to gaps in essential services, limiting refugees’ ability to meet their basic needs and impeding their path to self-reliance.

Exploring the Optimal Consequences of Refugee Self-Reliance

Refugee self-reliance has emerged as a prominent approach to refugee assistance and integration, garnering significant attention due to its perceived potential for empowering refugees and yielding multiple benefits. The assessment of its effectiveness can vary, incorporating both objective and subjective perspectives. The presumed advantages of refugee self-reliance encompass substantial social and economic benefits for both the beneficiaries and the host communities. In this discourse, we will examine the evidential basis supporting the presumed successes of this approach, while also considering the existing challenges encountered in Uganda, aiming to arrive at a nuanced and well-informed position.

Economic Empowerment: One of the main benefits attributed to refugee self-reliance is the potential for economic empowerment. When refugees are given the opportunity to work and engage in income-generating activities, they can contribute to the local economy, create employment opportunities, and reduce their dependence on humanitarian aid. This economic contribution not only benefits the refugees themselves but also the host communities and the overall development of the country. Studies have shown that refugees who are economically active have higher levels of self-esteem, improved mental well-being, and increased social integration.

Enhanced Livelihoods: Refugee self-reliance aims to improve the livelihoods of refugees by providing them with the means to support themselves and their families. By engaging in income-generating activities, refugees can access essential resources such as food, shelter, healthcare, and education for their children. This empowerment can lead to greater self-sufficiency, reduced poverty rates, and improved living conditions for refugees. Research has demonstrated that refugee self-reliance programs that focus on livelihoods and skills training have resulted in increased income and improved well-being among refugee populations.

Social Integration and Community Cohesion: Refugee self-reliance can also contribute to social integration and community cohesion. When refugees are given opportunities to work and engage with the local population, it can foster positive interactions, build trust, and promote mutual understanding. By participating in the local economy, refugees can establish relationships with host communities, break down stereotypes, and contribute to social harmony. Studies have highlighted the importance of economic self-reliance in improving social integration outcomes and reducing social tensions between refugees and host communities.

Dignity and Empowerment: Refugee self-reliance is often seen as a means of restoring dignity and empowering individuals who have been displaced from their homes. By enabling refugees to actively contribute to their own well-being, they regain a sense of control over their lives and feel less dependent on external assistance. This empowerment can lead to increased self-confidence, resilience, and a sense of purpose among refugees. Research has indicated that refugee self-reliance programs that prioritize empowerment and participation result in higher levels of self-efficacy and overall well-being among refugees.

While the benefits of refugee self-reliance are widely recognized, it is important to note that the actual outcomes can vary depending on the specific context, implementation strategies, and external factors such as policy frameworks and host community attitudes. Challenges and limitations exist, including unequal access to resources, limited market opportunities, and the need for supportive policies and infrastructure. It is crucial for policymakers, humanitarian organizations, and host governments to address these challenges and provide the necessary support to maximize the benefits of refugee self-reliance.

Is refugee self-reliance a palatable myth?

Refugee self-reliance in Uganda faces significant challenges and constraints that hinder its realization as a palatable myth. Limited access to livelihood opportunities, economic marginalization, inadequate infrastructure and basic services, social and cultural barriers, inadequate access to land and property, and funding and operational constraints all impede refugees’ ability to achieve self-reliance. These challenges restrict their economic empowerment, livelihood improvement, social integration, and overall well-being.

While refugee self-reliance offers potential benefits such as economic empowerment, enhanced livelihoods, social integration, and individual dignity and empowerment, its actual outcomes depend on various factors and contexts. The evidence suggests that when refugees have opportunities for economic participation, their contributions to the local economy benefit both themselves and host communities. Increased self-esteem, improved mental well-being, and social integration are observed among economically active refugees. Moreover, self-reliance programs focusing on livelihoods and skills training have resulted in higher income and improved well-being for refugees.

Refugee self-reliance can also foster social integration and community cohesion by promoting positive interactions, trust-building, and mutual understanding between refugees and host communities. By restoring a sense of control and reducing dependency, self-reliance programs contribute to refugees’ dignity, empowerment, self-confidence, and resilience.

However, the effectiveness of refugee self-reliance is contingent upon addressing the challenges and limitations that exist. Unequal access to resources, limited market opportunities, supportive policies, and infrastructure are crucial factors that need attention and improvement. Policymakers, humanitarian organizations, and host governments should work collaboratively to overcome these barriers and provide adequate support to maximize the benefits of refugee self-reliance.

Overall, while the concept of refugee self-reliance holds promise, the challenges and constraints present in Uganda indicate that it is not yet a palatable myth. However, by addressing these challenges and implementing supportive measures, it is possible to enhance the outcomes of refugee self-reliance and move closer to achieving sustainable solutions for refugees’ well-being and integration.

Promoting Self-Reliance: Strategies for Achieving Refugee Empowerment

Achieving self-reliance among refugees is a complex and multifaceted endeavor that requires concerted efforts from various stakeholders. In the case of Uganda, a country known for its progressive refugee policies and generosity in hosting displaced populations, there is a growing recognition of the need to empower refugees and foster their self-reliance. By addressing the challenges and constraints outlined earlier, Uganda can take proactive steps to strengthen refugee self-reliance and enhance the overall well-being of its refugee population.

Uganda can implement key steps to achieve this goal that draws upon global research and best practices. These steps encompass a range of strategies aimed at promoting livelihood opportunities, reducing economic marginalization, improving infrastructure and basic services, fostering social inclusion and integration, addressing land and property challenges, and strengthening funding and partnerships. By adopting a comprehensive approach and implementing these steps, Uganda can create an enabling environment for refugees to thrive, rebuild their lives, and contribute to the local economy and society.

These steps recognize the importance of not only addressing immediate humanitarian needs but also empowering refugees to become self-sufficient, independent, and active contributors to their own well-being and the development of their host communities. By focusing on long-term solutions and investing in areas such as livelihoods, education, healthcare, infrastructure and social cohesion, Uganda can pave the way for sustainable refugee integration and self-reliance.

Furthermore, these steps are aligned with international commitments and principles, including the Global Compact on Refugees, which emphasizes the importance of supporting self-reliance and empowering refugees to become agents of their own lives. By embracing these principles and taking concrete actions, Uganda can serve as a model for other nations facing similar challenges, demonstrating the positive outcomes that can be achieved when refugees are given the necessary support and opportunities to rebuild their lives with dignity and self-reliance.

In the following sections, we will delve into each of these steps in detail, examining their significance, potential benefits, and practical implications. By exploring these strategies, we aim to provide a roadmap for Uganda and other nations seeking to enhance refugee self-reliance, fostering an environment where refugees can flourish and contribute to their own well-being and the broader society.

Enhance livelihood opportunities: Uganda should focus on expanding refugees’ access to formal employment and income-generating activities. This can be achieved by addressing language barriers, providing language training programs, recognizing qualifications obtained in the refugees’ home countries, and creating job opportunities in the local economy.

Alleviate economic marginalization: Efforts should be made to reduce poverty and economic vulnerability among refugees. This can be accomplished through targeted interventions such as providing financial resources, access to microfinance, and business training to support entrepreneurial ventures. Additionally, facilitating market integration and creating economic opportunities in sectors where refugees have skills and expertise can help alleviate economic marginalization.

Improve infrastructure and basic services: Investing in the provision of quality infrastructure and basic services such as healthcare, education, water, and sanitation is crucial. Adequate access to education and healthcare will enable refugees to acquire necessary skills, improve their well-being, and enhance their prospects for self-reliance. Additionally, improving infrastructure in refugee settlements will support income-generating activities and overall quality of life.

Foster social inclusion and integration: Efforts should be made to overcome social and cultural barriers that hinder refugees’ integration into local communities. This can be achieved through promoting intercultural dialogue, organizing community events that bring refugees and host communities together, and combating discrimination, stigma, and xenophobia through awareness campaigns and policies.

Address land and property challenges: Strategies should be developed to address land scarcity and competition, which hinder refugees’ agricultural activities and self-sufficiency. This may involve exploring innovative solutions such as land-sharing initiatives, providing access to communal farming spaces, and supporting sustainable farming practices that optimize land use and productivity.

Strengthen funding and partnerships: Uganda should seek to secure sufficient funding and address operational constraints faced by humanitarian organizations and government agencies. This will ensure the provision of consistent and adequate assistance to refugees, allowing them to meet their basic needs and progress towards self-reliance. Strengthening partnerships with international organizations, donor agencies, and private sector actors can also contribute to resource mobilization and effective program implementation.

Global concerted efforts to improve refugee policies among countries can play a vital role in enhancing refugee self-reliance and ensuring that the burden of hosting refugees is shared more equitably. While countries like Uganda have shown commendable progress in their approach to refugees, it is crucial to foster a collective responsibility that extends beyond individual nations with relatively accommodating policies. This collective effort can help alleviate the strain on host countries and create a more sustainable and equitable environment for refugees to achieve self-reliance.

Countries around the world face varying degrees of refugee influxes, and it is incumbent upon the international community to come together to address this global challenge. By sharing responsibility, burden, and expertise, countries can pool resources, knowledge, and best practices to develop comprehensive and inclusive refugee policies. These policies should not only focus on providing immediate humanitarian assistance but also prioritize long-term solutions that empower refugees to become self-reliant and actively contribute to their host communities.

One key aspect of improving refugee policies globally is recognizing the importance of refugee self-reliance as a fundamental objective. This entails providing refugees with access to education, skills training, and economic opportunities that enable them to support themselves and their families. By prioritizing self-reliance, countries can shift the narrative around refugees from one of dependency to one of resilience and empowerment. This approach not only benefits refugees but also contributes to the social and economic development of host countries, fostering greater integration and social cohesion.

To achieve these goals, international cooperation and coordination are paramount. Countries can collaborate to share best practices, exchange knowledge, and provide financial and technical support to nations hosting large refugee populations. By building networks and partnerships, countries can leverage their collective strengths and address common challenges more effectively. This collaboration should extend beyond traditional aid mechanisms and encompass areas such as capacity building, policy development, and sustainable development assistance.

Furthermore, global concerted efforts should also focus on addressing the root causes of forced displacement and conflict, which are major drivers of refugee flows. By investing in conflict prevention, peace building, and sustainable development in regions affected by displacement, countries can help create conditions that reduce the need for individuals to flee their homes in the first place. This proactive approach not only benefits refugees but also contributes to global stability and security.

By implementing these key steps, Uganda can significantly strengthen refugee self-reliance, empower refugees to support themselves and their families and foster their integration into the local society. These measures require collaboration between government entities, humanitarian organizations, international partners, and local communities to ensure comprehensive and sustainable solutions for refugee empowerment.


The concept of refugee self-reliance in Uganda is neither a palatable myth nor a straightforward reality. While Uganda’s progressive refugee policies and efforts to promote self-reliance are commendable, numerous challenges and complexities persist. Socio-economic factors, systemic barriers, and social dynamics impact refugees’ ability to achieve self-reliance. Moreover, the impact on host communities and the need for equitable resource allocation must be carefully addressed. The Ugandan government, in collaboration with humanitarian organizations and international partners, must continue to address these challenges, enhance implementation capacity, and foster inclusive approaches to refugee self-reliance.

In conclusion, achieving genuine refugee self-reliance in Uganda requires a comprehensive and multifaceted approach that goes beyond policy frameworks. It demands addressing socioeconomic barriers, systemic challenges, and social dynamics while ensuring the well-being of host communities. Sustained international support and collaboration are essential for overcoming these challenges and creating an enabling environment for refugees to rebuild their lives with dignity and contribute to their host communities. By acknowledging the complexities and striving for comprehensive solutions, Uganda can continue to be a model for refugee self-reliance, turning the concept from a palatable myth into a tangible reality.


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