Key Projects

Engineering Skills Project - Uganda

Uganda currently hosts around 1.4m refugees, mainly from neighbouring countries South Sudan and the Democratic Republic of Congo. With further threats from disease, locust infestation, and nearby conflicts, as well as the impact of the current nationwide lockdown to combat Covid-19, the humanitarian need is only expected to increase in the future.

Working with the Ugandan Institution of Professional Engineers (UIPE) and CEDAT (College of Engineering, Design, Art and Technology at Makerere University), RedR UK is building in-country capacity to respond to these developing humanitarian needs through the training of local engineers, so that they can transfer their technical skills to a humanitarian context. 


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How can locally trained engineers help in the current context?

There are numerous challenges in hosting one of world’s largest refugee populations, not least of which is providing enough shelter, sanitation, and basic services to meet the needs of this growing population. 

In addition to this, Uganda faces further humanitarian risks from disease, locust infestation, and nearby conflicts. The current Covid-19 pandemic will also take it’s toll on the economy, society and particularly already vulnerable refugee and host communities. Within both refugee and host populations, there is a dependence on the costly trucking of water for drinking and low-quality fuel for cooking and electricity that can cause pollution and disease. In refugee accommodation, latrine coverage is only 36%. As well as household needs, wider infrastructure such as road networks and street lighting are also required to ensure the safety of local inhabitants. All these issues need not only an initial and immediate response, but long-term maintenance to ensure its continued effectiveness and sustainability. There is a very real and practical need that engineers already in Uganda have the technical competency to address – whether it be water, sanitation, infrastructure, construction or project management.


What is RedR doing to respond?

Working with the UIPE and CEDAT, RedR UK aims to empower Ugandan engineers to apply their skills to a new kind of context and work in the post-Covid 19 world. Equipping local engineers will strengthen emergency preparedness and response activities to build in-country capacity. This also aligns with the Government of Uganda’s (GoU) second national development plan which highlighted the need for engineering skills and capacity. 

UIPE is the leading professional body for engineers in Uganda, through which the project will reach over 2,000 engineers. In addition to this, a selection of 100 engineers, technicians and technologists who will receive targeted training on humanitarian principles & standards, disaster risk reduction, urban humanitarianism, and the application of engineering skills in responding to urgent humanitarian needs. The project will also encourage further collaboration between the private and NGO sectors, helping to ensure that technical needs faced by affected populations can be safely and efficiently met. 

The project is targeted to work in four locations in Uganda – Kampala, Bidibidi, Rhino Camp, Nakivale- and will run from May 2020 to April 2021. The work is kindly funded by the Royal Academy of Engineering through their ‘Engineering Skills Where they are Most Needed’ fund.

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Thanks to the generous support of the