Home Institution

Georgetown University

Publication Date

Fall 2018

Program Name

Uganda: Development Studies


The increase in protracted refugee situations around the world complicates the provision of public services such as education. Accessing secondary school is key to individual and community empowerment for vulnerable refugees through providing higher education and employment opportunities. However, secondary school attainment is often severely lacking in refugee settlements. In Uganda, 58.2% of refugees are enrolled in primary school, while only 11.3% attend secondary school. This study sought to understand the experiences of Ugandan refugees related to barriers to secondary education and its relation to social and economic empowerment, as well as solutions that refugee communities, Implementing Partners (IPs), and governments can execute. Qualitative and quantitative research were conducted through focus group discussions, personal interviews, and surveys with key community stakeholders including students in primary, secondary, and vocational school, secondary school teachers, parents of students, and implementing partners in Kiryandongo Refugee Settlement through a partnership with Windle International, Uganda. Barriers revealed can be grouped into two distinct categories: logistical limitations of financial resources of both families and schools, and structural challenges related to community factors such as the under prioritization of girls’ education and challenges at home. Solutions shared include increasing funding prioritization of education by the Ugandan government and implementing partners, community dialogues, and local business initiatives. By interacting with community members, the researcher sought to analyze the relationship between refugee youth, implementing partners, and the Ugandan government to pursue opportunities for stakeholders to work together and fully support refugee education to empower refugee students to create positive change in both their countries of origin and host communities.


African Languages and Societies | African Studies | Civic and Community Engagement | Education Policy | Elementary and Middle and Secondary Education Administration | Politics and Social Change | Secondary Education | Social and Cultural Anthropology | Social and Philosophical Foundations of Education


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