Uganda Refugee Settlements

Emmanuel outside his hut, Trocaire, 2017, Modified

Continued conflict in South Sudan has forced over 1,291,294 people to seek refuge in neighboring countries. Uganda, known for its progressive refugee laws, hosts a majority of the refugees from South Sudan, providing refugees and asylum seekers with right to work, freedom of movement, and access to social services. The protracted nature of conflict and the scarcity of resources in settlements necessitates study on land use, settlement planning, and shelter design. The current work focuses on finding innovative methods to build durable shelters, hydrological study, technical support for iron removal, sanitation in flood-prone areas, land-use and site planning strategies, and WaSH Behavior Change Research in the Adjumani settlement of Uganda. 

Featured Articles and Reflections

The South Sudan civil war has led to an influx of approximately one million refugees to Uganda, one of the poorest countries in the world. Unlike most nations, Uganda welcomes refugees with the right to land, freedom to travel, ability to work, and access to food, water, and shelter. Unfortunately, limited water sources in Northern Uganda, where most refugees settle, are generally not safe for consumption. Currently around 8 million people in Uganda, 20% of the population, do not have access to safe water. Without access, subsistence farmers struggle to feed their families and earn a living, and children under the age of five die from diarrheal disease caused by poor water and sanitation.

Our Team

James N. Jensen

Professor; Director of Undergraduate Studies, Environmental Engineering

Department of Civil, Structural and Environmental Engineering

232 Jarvis Hall

Phone: 716-645-4007


Christopher Lowry

Assistant Professor


413 Cooke Hall

Phone: 716-645-4266


Ryan Frederiks

Graduate Student


Kory Smith


Department of Architecture

Phone: 716-575-2874


Lisa Vahapo─člu

Program Coordinator

Community for Global Health Equity

218 Hayes Hall

Phone: 716-829-2168