About the Project

Strengthening Capacity for Urban Migration Management and Improving Migrant Livelihoods in Jinja City, Uganda is a pilot project of the Cities and Migration programme supported by Cities Alliance.

Project Summary

The purpose of the ‘Strengthening Capacity for Urban Migration Management and Improving Migrant Livelihoods in Jinja City, Uganda’ project is to strengthen the resilience and sustainable livelihoods of migrants in Jinja city who are experiencing migration related livelihood improvement challenges. The project builds knowledge on rural-urban migrants in Jinja and its effects on poor host communities. The project is being implemented by Jinja City Council, in partnership with Makerere University (academia) and ACTogether (civil society).

Jinja City Council, in close collaboration with project partners, and citizen representatives, will design and implement a migration management strategy which primarily focuses on the economic inclusion of poor migrant and non-migrant households through financial inclusion and investment in viable enterprises, asset building, housing upgrading and access to basic urban infrastructure, utilities and services. The project is being implemented with funding support from Cities Alliance through UNOPS
The project implementation period: December 2019 – November 2021 (2 years)


Jinja city is situated in Eastern Uganda, approximately 80 km from Uganda’s capital city, Kampala, on the eastern bank of source of River Nile one of the worlds’ longest rivers flowing from Lake Victoria was on the largest lakes in the world. Jinja was elevated from Municipality to City status in July and is one of the most important secondary cities in Uganda, with a population of slightly over 71,000, according to the 2014 census. However, the city administration estimates that Jinja’s current daytime population swells to 400,000 when other groups of people in the city are counted: unregistered residents, people who reside just outside the official municipal boundary, and those who commute on a daily basis to do business or use city services.

Jinja has long attracted migrants seeking economic opportunities. During the 1960s and 1970s, it was an important industrial town, attracting many labour migrants. When the industrial base collapsed in the late 1970s and 1980s, many of the migrants remained in Jinja. Since then, rural-urban labour migration has continued, with additional people seeking protection from civil strife or environmental disasters, especially in the Karimajong and Teso sub-region of northeastern Uganda.

Today, migrants born outside Jinja or Uganda make up over half of the city’s population. The majority are women and youth living in poverty, either unemployed or underemployed in low-paying informal activities such as market vendors and boda-boda riders. Most migrants remain undocumented and live together with the city’s existing poor population in the Karamoja, Kibugambata, Makenke, and Soweto slums. The Jinja Municipal Council needs data, knowledge and strategies to support access to livelihoods and decent housing for both its migrant and host populations.

Project Objectives

The overall aim of the project is strengthening the resilience and sustainable livelihoods of migrants in Jinja municipalities who are experiencing migration related livelihood improvement challenges. Through a partnership of the urban local government, academia and civil society, the project will:

  • Improve the understanding of the migration profiles and the challenges and opportunities for sustainable urban development in Jinja city;
  • Enhance the ability of the urban local governments to make well-informed strategic, planning, and investment decisions so as to integrate migrants into urban economy and communities and build a sustainable city.
  • Strengthen migrant’s livelihood improvement capacities, with particular emphasis on job creation, entrepreneurial skills and housing improvement.

Project Outcomes

  • Improved information and analysis of the gaps, challenges and opportunities of addressing rural migration and integration rural urban migrants in the urban economy and communities;
  • A socio-economically grounded urban migrants’ livelihood improvement model that effectively guides the documentation of and planning for urban migration and sustainable integration of urban migrants into the urban economy and communities that targets enhanced entrepreneurship, job creation and housing improvement;
  • A portfolio of capacity enhancement tools (instruments, strategies and approaches/practices) and enhanced capacity of urban authorities, civil society and urban communities to sustainably integrate migrants into the urban economy and communities, while at the same promoting resilient, green and sustainable urban development.
  • Effective management and dissemination of urban migration knowledge and best practices.