Home Institution

Lafayette College

Publication Date

Spring 2019

Program Name

Uganda: Global Development Studies


Humanitarian food assistance is incredibly susceptible to funding cuts, which reduces the quantity of food available to refugees. If refugees depend solely on food aid for survival, the implication of reductions is increased food insecurity at a household level. The Government of Uganda champions a self-reliance strategy that has failed to support refugees to the desired extent, especially when food rations are low. This study aims to assess the impact of humanitarian food assistance on the socioeconomic structures of refugee settlements in Adjumani, Uganda to understand the consequences of unstable food aid. The research was conducted over a four-week period. The sample consisted of eight key-informant interviews, 17 in-depth interviews with refugees, two focus groups. Data was also collected through participant observation of food and cash distribution, morning team meetings, secondary sources, and through a household food insecurity questionnaire. This research argues that the role of food aid must be rethought as an economic asset rather than just a means to food security. Doing so highlights the importance and role of income-generating activities in forming strong socioeconomic structures for refugees to provide them with alternative, more sustainable means, of achieving a state of food security. The research also addresses (1) how procurement strategies continue to marginalize the everyday Ugandan farmer; (2) the innate hypocrisy in the institutional defense of cash-based interventions; (3) the lack of dietary diversity in the food aid package and the possible ensuing micronutrient deficiencies; (4) the high-levels of chronic food insecurity in Boroli and Mireyi refugee settlements; (5) possible solutions for a more sustainable future.


African Languages and Societies | African Studies | Agriculture | Food Security | Growth and Development | Politics and Social Change | Social and Cultural Anthropology | Social Welfare


Article Location