United Kingdom

Uganda Network

Families and Friends

Click on the map above for a larger view.

Uganda is an extraordinary country. The young Winston Churchill called it the loveliest area of Africa and one of the most striking in the world. It is quite beautiful, but it has suffered from enormous deprivation for the last twenty years.

This has been due to poor government, political dictatorship and civil war. Now, however, the country has some measure of political stability and is beginning to develop again.

But first, let's find out where Uganda is.

Uganda is situated on the equator in East Africa and is completely landlocked. Kenya lies to its east, Zaire is to its west, Somalia to the north and the huge Lake Victoria to the south. Most of the country is on a single plateau about 1,200m above sea level... about one hundred metres below the very top of Ben Nevis.

The capital city is Kampala. It's a strange city in that many parts of it look more like what one might have expected a large town in Britain to look like back in the 1960's, except that where things have broken down there often hasn't been the money available to get them repaired. So there are traffic lights that don't work and tilt precariously across the road where wayward drivers have hit them.

Other parts of the city are ultra modern with a high rise Sheraton Hotel overlooking new buildings put up by the World Banks who have realised that the country is about to become revitalised. There are also many very poor quality houses, often only single rooms, in which families live. The power supply is often erratic, and so is the water pressure, and on a Saturday night, when we would be wary of lager louts in some of our bigger cities, the citizens of Kampala can often hear the sound of gunfire from similar hooligans who have found pistols left over from the civil war. Kampala has a population of about 2.5 million. It is becoming a very large city.

Uganda has a population of 23million compared with the population of the United Kingdom which is about 55 million. It is about the same size as the United Kingdom, covering an area of a little under 250,000 square km. A sixth of that land is swamp land and water. The dry land is split into seven regions for administrative purposes. Each region is split into a number of districts and these are roughly equivalent to our counties.

Nine out of ten people live in the countryside on their own family farms called shambas. People usually farm 4 to 5 acres in the coffee growing areas of the country and about double that in the cotton areas. Many men spend their week days in the cities and towns working there and commute back to their farms at weekends.

Find the town

Everyone knows that many Beaver Scouts find it difficult enough to work out what is meant by their own town, so it may be very difficult for them to have anything but the very simplest idea of other countries. However, there are many things you can do to help them to get an idea of where Uganda is in the world and how far away it is.

Look at the maps of Uganda and the United Kingdom. Download maps of Uganda and the UK.

Help the Beaver Scouts to locate their town, they may not have met maps before and it often helps to explain a little about them.

Something like this might help. 'When we go up in an aeroplane, all the houses, fields and rivers look smaller and smaller. This is because they become farther and farther away. If we were to make a plan of what we could see then that plan would be a map. We use symbols and colours to show what we can see'.

When you have found your town, try to show it on a map of the whole of the United Kingdom. Often children have no idea where their town might be.

(Try it for yourself, it's an illuminating experience and shows how much we take for granted in young children!).

Next move to a globe. Talk about where some of the children have been on holiday. If they have been abroad, show where they might have been and ask them how long it took them to travel there. Finally, find Uganda and trace a route from the United Kingdom to the country of Uganda. Explain that the journey takes about eight and a half hours by aeroplane.

The Beaver Scouts might like to use the photocopiable map we have prepared on page 8 to show a route from their home to Kampala! Don't forget, they will have to travel to an airport first!.


Race to Uganda (Circle/command game)

Beaver Scouts sit in a circle and are given the names of aeroplanes for example: Concord, Jumbo jet, Hercules etc.


  1. When the name of a plane is called - The Beaver Scouts who have been given that name jump up and run around the circle.
  2. 'Engine out' - Beaver Scouts hop around circle.
  3. 'Storm approaching' - Beaver Scouts change direction.
  4. 'Crash landing' - Beaver Scouts return to their place in the circle.
The Beaver Scout Leader then calls the name of another plane. The game continues until all the planes have 'flown the journey to Uganda'.


Flying high

If you live close to an airport a visit there might be interesting for the Beaver Scouts. Although they will not be able to travel 'airside' to see the planes, they could watch them take off from observation towers and watch all the passengers leaving for far flung destinations! Many airports produce educational packs for young visitors and some have visitors centres. Highly recommended is the one at East Midlands Airport.

Many airports have Scouters living or working nearby who run 'meet and greet' services for

visitors from overseas. Ask your Assistant County/Area Commissioner (International) if they know of anyone who might be able to help you with your visit.

Get the Beaver Scouts to make passports by drawing self portraits or they can make identity cards with finger prints (using mixed powder paint).


The world at your feet

Chalk out an enormous map of the world on the floor of your headquarters. (Use 'gaffe tape' if you are lucky enough to have a carpeted meeting place!) Explain to the Beaver Scouts that you have unwrapped the globe, stretched it out and placed it on the floor. Next, find the United Kingdom and Uganda with them. Then name the continents, the Colony then has to find it and stand on it. The boys and girls could even trace their own imaginary route from London to Kampala. (Perhaps via Disneyland and the Sydney Opera House.)

Download a map of the world.


Animals you might see

Ask the Beaver Scouts to draw pictures of mountains and lakes. Some could draw pictures of hills and mountains in this country and the animals they would see. Others could draw pictures of mountains in Uganda and the animals they might find there such as lions, zebras, hippos, enormous birds, crocodiles and elephants. But not tigers, please. They are only found in Asia!

Alternatively the Beaver Scouts could build hills, mountains and animals out of junk or play dough or clay. You can make play dough by mixing three measurer of flour to one of salt and adding a little water until it is soft and pliable.


Contact the Uganda Network Copyright © The UK Uganda Network - 2002
Last modified 29 December 2003


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