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VSO/Ginny Lattul



104,945 people accessed improved inclusive education; maternal and newborn healthcare; and skills and entrepreneurship training and job opportunities through VSO in 2015/16.

Youth unemployment

Young farmer Christine with children in Uganda VSO/Ginny Lattul

Christine Atoo, 27, is now able to support a family of six since receiving agronomic training and joining a farmers' group through VSO.

Uganda is the 2nd youngest country in the world, with 77% of its people under 30.

This young demographic is a huge social and economic opportunity. Unfortunately, youth unemployment is spiralling. 8/10 young people are out of work.

We work with vocational training institutes to create a professional, up-to-date, market-oriented training environment producing more employable graduates. We support training programmes that give youth more relevant skills, a better income, the ability to start businesses of their own, and to play a more meaningful citizenship role.

"VSO is different to other organisations. It didn't just give us oxen or money. They taught us on how to sustain our existing enterprises. We learned how to get something by working hard. When other organisations go away, groups like this die. But this is something we have ownership of."

Christine Atoo, 27, farmer supported by VSO in Gulu

Recent results:

  • 1,500+ young people supported by our programmes last year
  • Average earnings on our Youth Empowerment and Local Governance (YELG) project increased by 1434% per individual, and by 61% per group. Those involved on the project now have average weekly incomes 3.5 times higher that the average youth in northern Uganda
  • We helped increase the membership of savings groups, whose savings almost doubled
  • Upgraded facilities, curriculum and instructor skills at four vocational training institutes
  • Increased incomes of young farmers' enterprise groups


Find out how VSO is working to improve employment for young Ugandans like Christine


Beatrice Nalem, a deputy headteacher in Karamoja, Uganda VSO/Ginny Lattul

Beatrice Nalem, deputy headteacher of  Kasimeri Primary School in Moroto. Formerly the first girl in Karamoja region to finish her education, she is now working with VSO to reduce barriers to girls' education.

Universal free education has increased enrolment and literacy in Uganda. But evidence suggests that the quality of education has reduced with increasing class sizes and inadequate budgetary support. 

Girls and children with special educational needs are not receiving the education they deserve. Men are almost 50% more likely to have at least some secondary education, perpetuating gender inequality.

We train teachers and education staff to help them deliver effective, inclusive education.

Recent results:


  • Reached 52,500+ children with improved education
  • Recorded a 20% improvement in Primary Leaving exams among pupils impacted by our EQPE project in Karamoja, a region with the lowest education indexes in Uganda. This was one of the best regional performances in the country
  • Published shocking research into negative attitudes to girls' education in Karamoja
  • 5,000 educators supported to improve literacy and learning in local languages
  • Developed a national special needs education manual 

"Girls are also made to get married early, as young as 12. An educated girl is worth less because she's seen as 'wasting time'. People here value their animal more than their girl."

Beatrice Nalem, deputy head teacher, Kasimeri Primary School, Moroto

Maternal and newborn health

Mother Mirriam and newborn baby in Uganda VSO/Ginny Lattul

Mirriam Akello, 20, who had her baby boy at a high quality neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) established by VSO volunteers at Gulu Referral Hospital

Uganda is one of the most dangerous countries in the world in which to give birth. 4/10 women do so without a skilled health worker present.

 A lack of trained health workers and low uptake of health services has deadly consequences: 19 babies in every 1,000 do not survive the first 28 days.

We train health workers to provide best practice care for mothers and newborns. We support maternal health care in both village settings and formal health care facilities. 

Recent results

  • Trained 198 health workers to provide emergency newborn and maternal care at 51 health centres
  • The model neonatal intensive care unit we established at Gulu Regional Referral Hospital was recognised and awarded by the Ministry of Health as the best NICU in all government facilities in Uganda
  • Our interventions have led to a reduction in the mortality rate from 16.1% in the first months of 2015 to 9.7% by mid-2016.
  • The number of deliveries in healthcare facilities supported by VSo increased by 39% in 2016/17
  • Supplied 28 health centres with life-saving equipment for mothers and newborns
  • Supported over 50 members of the village health teams. Evidence suggests they are getting better at referring mother to health centres: the number of ante natal care visits in the first trimester has doubled
  • At least 20,590 newborn babies received essential care in targeted centres

"I thought that they wouldn’t be able to save the life of my child.  I love these nurses because they worked really hard on my baby." 

Mirriam Akello, 20, who had her baby in a VSO-supported unit

What makes VSO different?

Our progress has been made through VSO's people-centred approach to development using a volunteering-based impact model. Evidence shows that results achieved through volunteering offer increased sustainability and value for money. 

VSO volunteers are a diverse pool of experienced professionals. They collaborate with their host communities to find innovative, local solutions. They provide continuous training, coaching and mentoring to our partner organisations.

Find out more about VSO's unique people-centred approach using volunteers to make a lasting difference to poverty.

"Irish Aid values very much its partnership with VSO. The VSO volunteers are working strenuously in Karamoja, the most disadvantaged sub region in Uganda, to improve education access and quality. In a hard-to-reach location the VSO programme is achieving strong outcomes towards more sustainable development."

Frank Kirwan, IrishAid



VSO’s valued funding partners in Uganda include DfID, IrishAid, EU, UNICEF, USAID, MasterCard Foundation, Greg Dyke and Sue Howes, Rangoonwala Foundation, Pharo Foundation, Dioraphte Foundation among others

We have fruitful relationships with the Ministry of Education; Ministry of Gender, Children & Youth Affairs and Ministry of Health. 

Our local implementing partners range from vocational training institutes, to teacher training colleges, to hospitals, to civil society organisations. Through our support last year, partners made improvements in:

  • Children’s access to quality learning
  • Youth skills, entrepreneurship and employment
  • Women’s access to better health care and services
  • Availability of critical, lifesaving equipment
  • Continuing professional development by teachers and education officials
  • Market system awareness
  • Agri-business and value chain development
  • Income enhancement at individual as well as group levels


Latest news

Contact us

Find out more about partnering with VSO Uganda by contacting

Post: PO Box 2831, Kampala, Uganda

Interested in volunteering?

Find out more about volunteering in Uganda

Dr Alok Rath speaking at the UN


Dr Alok Rath