In Uganda, we scale up proven models of care that prevent and respond to HIV, violence and other vulnerabilities within a coordinated referral network and case management system. We continuously innovate, aggressively addressing emerging gaps through capacity development of local organizations and government from community to national levels to deliver and monitor the effectiveness of high quality, integrated services. Together we are reaching 235,000 children, youth and caregivers across 45 districts in Uganda, closing the gaps in HIV and violence prevention and response, strengthening family resilience, and contributing to Uganda’s 95 95 95 HIV epidemic control goals.


Uganda’s population currently exceeds 40 million and continues to grow rapidly. With 56% of Uganda’s population under the age of 18, Uganda is experiencing a youth bulge, with one of the youngest populations in the world. Many of these youth are faced with acute challenges: nearly 15% of children are orphans, one in four households supports an orphaned child, and 51% (8 million) of children are moderately or critically vulnerable.

We build capacity, coordination, and advocacy at all levels in Uganda—from children and households to community responses to district and national mechanisms—to address service delivery gaps, expand access, and improve service quality. Our efforts complement and strengthen existing local government systems and initiatives.


The Uganda team is innovating several new approaches –  strengthening the child protection response through Closed User Groups (using mobile phones) to enhance networks and link together community and government actors; equipping out of school adolescent youth with proven alternative skills to enable them to earn money  and pursue long term goals; and, addressing sexual and gender-based violence through social norms change approaches that engage girls, boys, women and men

Health and HIV

Adolescent girls and young women (AGYW) are three times as likely to be HIV+ as their peers who are the same age. Uganda’s recent Violence Against Children (VAC) study showed that 52% of 18-24-year-old young women had experienced sexual abuse before age 18—38% of which occurred in the respondents’ homes. On average, 30% of adolescent girls enrolled in our Uganda programming are also young mothers. Through core DREAMS programming, we have reached 14,000 AGYW with layered economic strengthening and HIV/gender-based violence (GBV) prevention services. Our in- and out-of-school youth programming in Uganda has equipped more than 10,000 adolescents and young women and men with integrated HIV and GBV prevention services. Through an HIV-sensitive case management approach, we have screened more than 14,000 orphans and vulnerable children (OVC) for HIV risk and have referred more than 2,500 children at risk for HIV for follow-up HIV testing services (HTS) support.


We use a range of household economic strengthening strategies to address the underlying causes of poverty and to build family resiliency. Our household approach engages the whole family using economic strengthening approaches to improve family cooperation and communication that contribute to strengthening the protection of children at the household level. Our youth Savings and Investment Club model (SAIC) inculcates a saving culture in youth while building their leadership and financial literacy.

We have supported more than 12,000 households with economic strengthening services, including project-supported village savings and loan associations (VSLAs), financial literacy education, livelihoods support, and linkages to agribusiness actors across Uganda’s robust agriculture value chain. We have also equipped more than 4,200 out-of-school adolescents with life skills, work-readiness skills, and livelihoods skills to find decent work, 80% of whom are earning money from decent work. Under our youth Savings and Investment Club model, more than 97% of adolescent youth in SAICs are actively saving each month.


Our programming in Uganda addresses the needs of in- and out-of-school youth using an integrated approach that helps youth to understand their roles and responsibilities, protect themselves and report violence, and follow up with communities and families to address violence and protection issues. We work with more than 5,000 in-school children, youth, and their families too by engaging youth, teachers, caregivers, and communities to address all forms of violence and to enhance safety in schools and communities. Social norms change approaches layered onto programming help to create positive shifts in children, teachers, caregivers, and communities to address the underlying driver of violence against children – including sexual violence and teen pregnancy. Children, teachers, and communities are also engaged in strengthening prevention and response systems through linkages with trained para-social workers to follow up on protection cases and to work side-by-side local government protection and social welfare officers to address and close cases.

Social Protection

Uganda’s recent Violence Against Children (VAC) study showed that 52% of 18-24-year-old young women had experienced sexual abuse before the age of 18 – 38% of which occurred in the respondents’ homes. 68% of young men 18-24 years old reported experiencing physical violence during their childhood. Social protection programming helps to address a range of issues to improve family resiliency.

Our parenting program helps to strengthen family resilience by helping families to improve communication, mutual respect, and skills in family budgeting and resolving conflicts peacefully. Our proven case management model supports more than 15,000 families and 90,000 children with a range of integrated supports that prevent and respond to HIV and violence. Our innovative Closed User Group (CUG) phone network links together children and families with trained para-social workers, social service, and health providers, and formal district protection actors to address protection issues. This innovation complements the national Uganda Child Helpline and ensures that children have access to HIV services, treatment, and follow-up care and support.

Systems Strengthening

We have been working to strengthen government systems in Uganda to ensure a continuum of response and care for vulnerable children, youth, and their families for over ten years. We work at the community, parish, district, and national levels to prevent and response to HIV and violence against children by strengthening Uganda’s case management system, particularly at the community level where the need is the greatest. We provide technical support to the Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development to scale up an HIV-sensitive case management model nationally to ensure vulnerable children and youth affected by or most at risk of HIV and violence have access to critical services.

We support local government to train community volunteers known as parasocial workers in child protection and to coordinate and deliver HIV and social protection services through community case management. Children at risk of HIV are tested, and HIV+ children are initiated onto treatment and care. Monthly case conferences strengthen the response by bringing together government protection, health and social protection providers to address complex cases, and ensure children have access to services.

We are also adapting the case management model to schools. A key component of this approach is the establishment of village child case management committees, an innovation that strengthens existing community supports to identify and respond to cases of neglect and violence against children.

Adolescent Girls and Youth

We reach more than 28,000 adolescent girls and young women across 20 districts in the east and north. We layer gender-based violence and HIV prevention, sexual and reproductive health services, and HIV testing services onto economic strengthening, life skills education, and girls empowerment clubs, which mobilize children and youth to access services across the HIV continuum of care. Our parenting interventions strengthen communication and trust between girls and their caregivers, opening up space for greater dialogue and support around girls’ risks, including neglect, physical and emotional violence, and sexual violence.

We address violence in schools and communities by engaging teachers, school management, youth, caregivers and communities to prevent and respond to violence and explore how to address the unequal power and gender dynamics between adults and children, men and women, and boys and girls that underpin tolerance to neglect and abuse. We strengthen community prevention and response systems by linking trained PSWs to schools and formal district systems. Our programs reach adolescent boys and girls with proven interventions that build their social assets, increase their awareness around protection and rights issues, and create platforms to elicit their input through youth-led community campaigns and dialogues. We support in- and out-of-school youth through social and protective asset building clubs, support youth to stay in school with education subsidies, and provide livelihoods support to out-of-school youth to improve economic resilience.