Refugee Health and Well-being in Uganda

Swapping aid for trade in northern Uganda, DFID Pete Lewis, 2011, Modified

Today, continued conflict in South Sudan has forced over 1,291,294 people to seek refuge in neighboring countries, like Uganda, making Uganda the largest refugee settlement in the world. 

Our Working Solutions

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. 
In the past two years, Uganda has witnessed an influx of nearly one million refugees who have settled in the sparsely populated northwestern region of the country. This rapid population growth has created high demand for clean water resources. Water supply has been unable to keep pace with demand because the fractured rock aquifers underlying the region often produce low yielding wells. To facilitate management of groundwater resources it is necessary to quantify the spatial distribution of groundwater.

In the spring of 2017, senior architecture students in the School of Architecture and Planning at the University at Buffalo, working with Professor Korydon Smith, took on this global challenge. Below is a sample of their work, which both frames the challenges of refugee resettlement and explores solutions for housing amidst the complex situation in Uganda.

Our Team

Faculty Fellows

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


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


Student Associates

Sadi Dhakhwa

Graduate Student


Ryan Frederiks

Graduate Student