Fort Portal is located in western Uganda in Kabarole District and has a population of roughly 55,000.
Most people live off subsistence agriculture, animal farming and commercial fishing. As many families produce their own food for consumption, when harvests are poor, children do not get enough food.
Past conflict and the HIV/AIDS pandemic has led to many children growing up without parental care.
Since 2010, SOS Children’s Villages has been supporting children, young people and families and advocating for their rights in Fort Portal.
Like other parts of Uganda, Kabarole District has been affected by violent conflict. The HIV/AIDS pandemic also continues to be a challenge here. Given these circumstances, many children in the area have lost their parents. In fact, it is estimated that around 50,000 children in the region are without parental care. Children who can no longer live with their parents generally live with their extended family in Uganda. However, often, families do not have the means to provide for additional children. Especially when they are female-headed households or older relatives, it can be incredibly difficult for them to meet the children’s needs in financial, social, psychological, educational and health terms.
Malnutrition is a problem for many people all over Uganda. However, the situation is particularly severe for children in rural areas, including in the areas surrounding Fort Portal. In this region, many families rely on agriculture and animal farming in order to make a living and to produce food for themselves. This makes them very vulnerable to changing weather conditions. Draught or flooding can destroy crops and leave families in the area without food. Children who do not get enough nutritious food are at risk of not growing healthily. With their proper physical and intellectual development at risk, these children are very likely to experience negative long-term consequences.