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Empowering Refugees Through Education: The Finnish Refugee Council's Work in Uganda

6 June 2024 | Joseph Masonda | DVV International Uganda / ACP Africa ALE


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Uganda has been hosting refugees in East Africa since the 1940s. The number of refugees and asylum seekers increased dramatically beginning around 2016, when hundreds of thousands of people, mostly from South Sudan and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, fled their countries due to political and social economic instability.

The Finnish Refugee Council (FRC) has been a pivotal organization in providing adult education and literacy programs for refugees in Uganda since 1997. Operating in 13 settlements across the northern, western, and southwestern regions of the country, FRC’s work is instrumental in promoting education, resilience, and self-reliance among refugees and host communities.

Mission: To enhance the self-reliance and resilience of refugees and host communities through specialized adult education programs.

Current Actions:

  1. Adult Education for Human Rights:
  • FRC offers literacy, language, business, financial literacy, Village Savings and Loan Associations (VSLA), digital literacy, and life skills training. These programs are designed to empower refugees and foster their self-reliance and resilience. In Kyaka II settlement, FRC organized standardized exams for Functional Adult Literacy (FAL) learners to ensure a uniform assessment approach, enhancing the learning outcomes and accountability of the program.
Livelihood and Income Generation:
  • FRC provides training in modern agricultural techniques and environmental conservation. These trainings emphasize climate-smart practices and sustainable farming to improve economic opportunities and food security for both refugees and host communities.
Civic Training and Actions for Social Cohesion:
  • FRC collaborates with the Justice and Reconciliation Project to promote peaceful coexistence and social cohesion. Through capacity-building trainings for community leaders and peace-building interventions, FRC helps resolve inter- and intra-community conflicts and enhances access to justice.

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Highlighted Project:

Functional Adult Literacy (FAL) in Kyaka II Settlement:

  • Since its establishment, Kyaka II has been home to over 120,000 refugees, primarily from the Democratic Republic of Congo. FRC’s adult literacy programs in this settlement have equipped learners with essential literacy and numeracy skills, enabling them to participate more effectively in their communities and pursue further education or vocational training.


  • Learning Spaces: Many learners study under inadequate conditions, such as under trees or in cramped shelters.
  • Instructor-Learner Language Match: Difficulty in matching instructors fluent in the learners' local languages.
  • Mothers with Babies: The presence of infants distracts learners, necessitating extended exam times.
  • Disability Accommodations: Learners with disabilities require additional support to complete exams.
  • Food and Cash Distributions: These events often disrupt class schedules and exam timing.

Despite these challenges, FRC remains committed to improving the quality of education and increasing the number of graduates annually. This dedication aligns with their overarching goal of promoting the resilience and dignity of refugees through functional adult literacy.

Contact Information:

  • Tel: +(256) 773 730 345
  • Address: Plot 8284 Tomusange Close, Muyenga KAMPALA, UGANDA
  • Email: