UN Agencies in Uganda Implement Staff Reductions

UN Agencies in Uganda Implement Staff Reductions
Approximately 27 UN entities operate in Uganda, contributing to various sectors, with the UN Resident Coordinator Office coordinating their efforts. The ongoing realignment process aims to adapt to changing global circumstances, affecting UN staff across the country. The UN remains committed to supporting Uganda's development goals within its available resources while striving for service excellence.
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In Kampala, Uganda, the United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (Unicef) office on George Street faced significant changes recently. The United Nations (UN) refugee agency in Uganda is undergoing a restructuring process, which involves merging two sub-offices into one and downgrading three others to field offices. These measures have sparked discontent among staff and raised concerns about fairness and the organization’s future.

The job cuts are part of a broader effort to address budgetary challenges caused by various factors, including the global socio-political climate and decreased revenue. The UN aims to enhance operational efficiency by aligning jobs with reduced funding. Senior officials, including the UN resident coordinator and representatives from Unicef and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), have confirmed these changes.

The impact of these job cuts extends beyond the employees’ livelihoods, raising questions about the continuity and quality of services for refugees and host communities. The job cuts primarily involve abolishing existing positions and affect both local and international staff, including recently hired local staff and expatriates with expiring contracts.

The job cuts have been most severe at Unicef and UNHCR, with some staff concluding their service at the end of December, while others will leave by June 2024. These reductions are part of a global trend affecting UNHCR operations worldwide, driven by economic challenges, shrinking donor contributions, and increasing humanitarian needs.

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Uganda, a host to a significant number of refugees from neighboring countries, faces potential service reductions due to these cuts. Critical areas such as food security, education, healthcare, and gender-based violence prevention are at risk. UN agencies in Uganda, known for offering competitive remuneration packages, are affected by the funding crisis in Ugandan civil society, making it difficult for impacted workers to find new jobs.

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