The refugee response in northern Uganda: resources beyond international humanitarian assistance

Working and discussion papers
January 2019
Lydia Poole

The Humanitarian Policy Group (HPG) is exploring whether the known and tracked esources for crisis response are only a sliver of a much larger and potentially more significant pool of resources.

In this paper, this is considered in the context of the response to support refugees from South Sudan who arrived in Northern Uganda after the start of the civil war in 2013. The refugee response in Uganda provides insights into the demand for financing data in a context where national and international actors are working towards shared goals and grappling with the challenges of working simultaneously across the ‘humanitarian–development nexus’.

It is currently not possible to track direct resource transfers from other public and private, international and national actors, including development aid and remittances, as well as the efforts of refugees themselves to make ends meet. As such, the size and make-up of these other sources of assistance remain largely unknown. Moreover, many of the most important national contributions to the response – including provision of legal refugee status and the right to move freely, to work and to access services – do not lend themselves readily to costing and tracking in financial terms.

This study approaches these issues from both the household and the system level. It asks questions about how people affected by crises make ends meet at the household level, maps what resources contribute to crisis response at the system level and aims to understand how resource data could improve crisis response.