Information by Country

Uganda: Background

Uganda continues to make significant strides towards achieving universal primary education, and the national policy now provides free education for all children. During recent years, significant investments in programmes that affect children and women have led to developmental successes in Uganda, notably in primary education and in the response to AIDS. In the north, however, nearly two decades of conflict between the Government and the Lord’s Resistance Army have spurred a severe humanitarian crisis marked by widespread insecurity and massive displacement.

In 2004, the United Nations Girls’ Education Initiative Partnership Forum was launched in Uganda by the Minister of Education. The objective of the UNGEI Partnership Forum was to complement and extend the efforts of the Education Sector Working Group.

Barriers to girls’ education

  • Negative attitudes towards girls’ education among those who make and implement policy.
  • Unresponsiveness to the needs of young female students.
  • Child marriage and pregnancy.
  • Armed conflict.
  • Inadequate sanitation and hygiene facilities.
  • Few female teachers.
  • Inadequate school infrastructure, such as classrooms and furniture.
  • Sexual harassment and gender-based violence and discrimination in schools.
  • Health concerns, particularly HIV and AIDS, that lead to absenteeism when girls must care for sick parents or take responsibility for their families when parents die.

UNGEI in action

One major task for UNGEI is to identify ways to accomplish the Education for All gender parity target in primary and secondary education by 2005 and ensure by 2015 that all children will be able to complete a full course of primary schooling and have equal access to all levels of education.

Key initiatives

  • Girls’ education partnerships have been launched at the district level in Uganda and have adopted their own names, such as the Kitgum Initiative for Girls Education (KIGE).
  • A guided process for developing messages for a national gender-parity campaign is in place.
  • Terms of Reference’ for UNGEI at the district level have been developed.
  • Bylaws at the district and community levels are being enacted.
  • Female role models for empowering girls are being promoted.
  • Support for young people is being led by the Girls’ Education Movement in its initiatives for community outreach to trace out-of-school children.
  • Targeted deployment of female teachers to hard-to-reach areas is being advocated.


FAWE Uganda (Forum for African Women Educationalists), Girls’ Education Movement (GEM), Government ministries, Uganda Girl Guides and Youth Alive, as well as bilateral partnerships, community-based, civil society and faith-based organizations, government ministries, the private sector and United Nations agencies.

UNGEI within other national and international frameworks

The Common Country Assessment (CCA) and United Nations Development Assistance Framework (UNDAF),  poverty-reduction strategy papers and the sector-wide approach to planning are operational in Uganda.


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