Uganda’s poverty rate has been on a steady decline. However, this progress is being challenged by extreme droughts, neighboring conflicts, increasing poverty in the northern part of the country, and rising inequalities. 

Improving smallholder farmers’ livelihoods and nutrition

When we started supporting research in Uganda in 1972, agriculture was a major focus. Funding in these early years enabled Ugandan researchers to develop disease-resistant varieties of sorghum and bananas, thereby increasing yields and improving the livelihoods of farmers.

Now groundbreaking agricultural innovations in Uganda and Kenya are being supported by the multi-funder program Cultivate Africa’s Future. Researchers have developed pre-cooked bean products that drastically reduce cooking times from three hours (for unprocessed beans) to only 10 minutes. This innovation is helping to break the most significant bean consumption barriers: long cooking times and high energy costs. 

Enhancing healthcare in isolated areas

Our funding helped develop the Uganda Health Information Network, an electronic system that successfully addresses information and data flow problems in an under-resourced health system. Hand-held computers, mobile caching services, and mobile telephones enable health workers in isolated areas to record immunization and disease cases, order medicine, and share prevention and treatment information. Now used in hundreds of health centres, the technology has enhanced healthcare delivery while cutting costs.

Eliminating the digital divide

We were one of the first organizations to support the development of a Ugandan strategy for adopting and integrating information and communications technology (ICT). Our research on ICTs influenced decision-making and policies. Studies informed Uganda’s ICT and universal access policies in the early 2000s — the first of their kind on the continent. These policies are taking communication services to rural areas, where more than 80% of the population lives. Uganda’s success has become a model for many other African countries.

Total IDRC Support

252 activities worth CA$45 million since 1972

Hewlett Foundation/J.Torgovnik

Our support is helping

  • promote land policies that are fair to women
  • stimulate high-quality, policy-relevant research among key institutions
  • introduce pre-cooked beans for food, nutrition, and income
  • develop effective health care interventions in post-conflict areas
  • create resilience to the water-related impacts of climate change in Uganda's cattle corridor

Projects