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Emergency Trust Fund for Africa
News article27 August 2019

Sight-by-Side Uganda: one country, two perceptions


2 young photographers, 1 European Union (EU) and 1 Ugandan national, were selected and paired up to travel to refugee settlements in Northern Uganda and slum areas of Kampala where they portrayed their individual but complementary perceptions on inequalities in this diverse country.

During their journey, they had the chance to visit projects funded through the EU #AfricaTrustFund and their beneficiaries.

Guillem Trius (Spain) focused on host communities and Esther Ruth Mbabazi (Uganda) on South Sudanese refugees. They each asked one simple but powerful question. Guillem asked locals "if you became a refugee tomorrow, what would you miss the most?”, while Esther asked refugees "what did you manage to bring with you when you were forced to leave your home?”

Sight-by-side brings together voices and views of young Africans and Europeans to create dialogue and breakdown stereotypes through art and media projects and to promote a more diverse image of African countries. This first edition of Sight-by-Side sheds light on inequalities in Uganda and on the work of the Africa Trust Fund in this country.

The Sight-by-Side exhibition was shown at the European Development Days 2019 (Brussels,Belgium), at the Rimini Meeting (Rimini,Italy) and at the 1st Uganda-EU Business Forum (Kampala, Uganda) in 2020. In partnership with the European Commission Permanent Representation in Barcelona, the exhibition was shown at the Barcelona Sant Pau Art Nouveau site and, in just 37 days, it was visited by over 35,000 people. The exhibition is starting a tour of Cataluña and the Balearic islands (Tarragona, Lleida, Girona and Palma de Mallorca). Most importantly, the pictures will return to the refugee settlements where they were originally taken, so that the exhibition can be seen by those whose stories are being told.


Guillem Trius was born in 1991 in Barcelona, Spain. He believes in long-term multimedia documentary projects and uses this method to share stories from people around the world. He has been working in countries such as Ethiopia, Somalia, Syria, Niger, Faroe Islands, among others. He has been published in national and international newspapers such as La Vanguardia, Revista 5W, Al Jazeera, and The Guardian. In 2016, he received an honorable mention at the Tokyo International Photo Awards (Japan) and the Head On Photo Festival (Australia). He was also shortlisted at the Sienna International Photo Awards (Italy) for his work "Life and Death inside Gambo Hospital". He has recently been shortlisted at the Kolga Tbilisi Photo Awards (Georgia) for his work 'Færeyjar'. He exhibited his work in Spain, Australia, Georgia, Ethiopia, Belgium and Japan and he is a member of the documentary agency OAK Stories.

Guillem Trius (Spain) focused on the host communities living in and around the settlement areas.

Esther Ruth Mbabazi is a photographer based in Kampala, Uganda. As a documentary photographer, Esther uses storytelling and photojournalism to address issues in her society. Coming from a humble background, her work explores changing conditions on the African continent. Through this lens, she focuses on the social, economic, physical and emotional aspects of daily life, especially in rural areas and for minority groups. Esther is driven to bring to light issues in society that are too often overlooked. Her works have been published in The New York Times, TIME Magazine, The Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, Slate, and El Pais, and commissioned by a variety of NGOs and international organisations.

Esther Ruth Mbabazi (Uganda) focused on refugees and "the things they carry".


Uganda, a country rich in wildlife and home to different tribal heritages and diverse landscapes, is also the largest refugee hosting country in Africa with over 1.2 million refugees and, whilst growing economically, still faces major challenges. Uganda is at the forefront in the implementation of the Comprehensive Refugee Response Framework (CRRF), an initiative led by UNHCR in close coordination with relevant States, other UN agencies, NGOs and other stakeholders, and is also a pilot country for the EU humanitarian-development-peace nexus.

Despite the challenges generated by the influx of refugees, Uganda maintains one of the most progressive refugee protection policies in the world. The Ugandan Government upholds an inclusive approach, granting refugees freedom of movement, the right to work, to establish businesses and to access public services such as education.

The programmes of the Emergency Trust Fund for Africa in this country focus on vocational and technical trainings, livelihoods, conflict management, as well as education and providing economic opportunities for both refugees and host communities.

Downloadable materials:

For queries contact us at EuropeAid-SIGHT-BY-SIDEatec [dot] europa [dot] eu (EuropeAid-SIGHT-BY-SIDE[at]ec[dot]europa[dot]eu).


Publication date
27 August 2019
Region and Country
Horn of AfricaUganda

Programmes in the region

Improving Nutrition and Reducing Stunting in Eastern Sudan

The action aims to enhance the ability of women and children in the States of Red Sea, Kassala and Gedaref to lead socially and economically productive lives, and in doing so strengthen their resilience and that of their communities.