Historical Background

Manafwa District was created in 2005 being curved out of Mbale District. In 2006, the northern part of Manafwa was again curved off to form present day Bududa District. In July 2017, Namisindwa District was also curved off which is located in the Eastern part.

Location and size

The Manafwa District is located in Eastern Uganda in the sub-region of Bugisu that consists of the Districts of Bududa, Bulambuli, Manafwa, Sironko, Mbale and Namisindwa. It is bordered by Namisindwa District in the East; the District of Bududa in the North West, Mbale to the West and Tororo in the Southwest. The District is located between the longitudes of 340 E, 350E and latitudes 000 & 450N; and has the total surface area of about 231 sq km. The headquarters of Manafwa District is located approximately 27 kilometres (17 miles), by road, south-east of Mbale, the largest town in the sub-region; and approximately 267 km from Kampala the capital city of Uganda.

Manafwa District is made up of 01 county (Bubulo West), 18 rural Sub-counties, 04 Town Councils with 03 traditional divisions of grater Buwagogo, greater Bugobero and greater Butiru. The District constitutes of 81 parishes and 862 village councils and Town Boards namely: Masaka, and Butiru.

The District Council is the highest Political authority in the district, with 30 members under the headship of the District Chairperson. It has a technical team headed by the Chief Administrative Officer, distributed in 10 departments. Each of the departments has a head and under every department, there are a number of Sectors

Planning in the District is carried out using a sector wide approach in order to develop a comprehensive Plan/Budget that acts as a road map for expenditure and revenues (both development and recurrent) in the efforts of eradicating poverty by aiming at achieving its mission and vision.


The district’s Vision is “A knowledgeable Citizenry, health populace and harmonious people by 2035”; while,

 The Mission is To Have “Sustainable Socio-Economic Transformation through Effective and Efficient service delivery”. Specifically, the district seeks to:


  • Raise the levels of economic and social development;
  • Solve the problem of inadequate electric power supply;
  • Improve democracy and accountability;
  • Ensure that the natural resources within the Local Government are well utilized and maintained;
  • Identify and collect sufficient revenue to ensure Efficient and effective delivery of social services to communities;
  • Promote, support production and marketing in a friendly environment in order to ensure household food security and to generate income for better livelihood;
  •  Ensure wise and sustainable utilization of existing resources in the District;
  •  Empower our community involving them in economic and social activities at house hold level;
  • Increase accessibility to social services through increased District road network, safe water coverage and develop an improved building infrastructure;
  • Increase enrolment and retention rates of pupils in UPE schools;
  • Improve the health services accessibility;
  • Increase the levels of education and literacy; to eradicate poverty, bureaucratic barriers to investment, poor transport infrastructure and utility services;
  • Promote environmental sustainability, and high value agricultural produce
  • Avert the problems of inadequate office accommodation, inadequate teachers accommodation, Malaria disease and HIV/AIDS prevalence; and


In order to achieve the set objectives, the district is to employ the following strategies:

  • Purchase a generator and provide for its maintenance to ensure constant power supply in order to improve service delivery;
  • Improve both social and economic infrastructure;
  • Promote access to safe water by encouraging water harvesting, sinking boreholes, protecting springs and sensitization of the communities on hygiene and sanitation;
  • Curb the problem of environmental degradation through afforestation, creation of dumping areas, and protection of swamps and wetlands;
  • Ensure retention of the girl child in school by Sensitize the public about the relevance of the education of the girl child, protection of the girl child by enforcing laws on defilement, prevent early marriages, and promote sanitation and hygiene in schools;
  • Provide more facilities to the Universal Primary Education Program including provision of school furniture, scholastic materials, and classrooms;
  • Identification and prioritization of the needs of the PWDs by all LGs;
  • Promote marketing of products, and strengthening community producer’s associations and diversification of agricultural production;
  • Promote the quality of gender related activities;
  • Computerize the Education Department, reduce school dropouts and provide sports equipments to schools;
  • Completion of HealthCenters and construction of new HC’s;
  • Equip Health Centers;
  • Enhance activities of PHC and support to NGOs;
  • Open new roads and maintain existing network through the use of both Direct Labor Force account System and contracting; and
  • Operate and Maintain facilities/assets of the District.


In 1991, the national population census estimated the district population at 178,500 before trancation. The national census of 2002 estimated the population at 262,600 inhabitants. In 2012, the population was estimated at 367,500. However, with the division of the district, it remains with a population of 175,079 (UNPHC 2014).

General information about the District



 340E    & 350E


 00 & 450N

Average Altitude                        


Total Surface Area                    

231 square metres

Land Area                                   


Area under open water:              





 1,500 mm per annum


Demographic and Socio-economic Indicators


Total Population:   



Female population (2014 census):



Male population: (2014 census):



Percentage of total population that is male:



Percentage of population that is female:



Sex ratio -Males per 100 females (2014 census)



Percentage urban (2014 Census)       



Percentage rural (2014 Census)



Population by age groups




Population aged 0-17 years




Population aged 18-30 years




Population aged 31-59 years




Population aged 60 and above






Average Household size



Total households



Total households headed by males




Total households headed by females




Households headed by childeren (aged 10-17)




Households headed by youths (18-30)




Households headed by older persons (aged 60 and above)





Primary school Access


Households that are 5km or more to the nearest primary school , whether public or private




Households that are 5km or more to the nearest  public primary school




Secondary school Access


Households that are 5 km or more to the nearest secondary school, whether public or private




Households that are 5 km or more to the nearest public secondary school




Health Facility Access


Households that are 5km or more to the nearest heath facility, whether public or private




Households that are 5km or more to the nearest public health facility




Police Post Access


Households that are 5 km or more to the nearest police post/police station





Health Indicator








Population Density per square kilometer (UHPHC 2014)




Fertility Rate




Average House hold size




Growth rate (%) (UHPHC 2014)




Infant Mortality Rate per 1,000




Maternal Mortality Rate per 100,000




Total Fertility Rate (%)




<5 mortality rate per 1000





The District is well endowed with natural resources which have a potential to attract tourists.  There are beautiful hills and valleys overlooking river banks of Manafwa River in Buwangani, Buwagogo and Manafwa Town Council. There is a potential of bull fighting in Nabaloosi wetland.


Wetlands also possess different species of birds like the Ibis, grey backed heron, crested crane and the great white igrets among others. All the above make the District a potential tourist destination

Geographical Features

The main geographical features in the District are hills and valleys dotted with permanent streams that converge to form the main systems that flow through the District i.e. Manafwa, Kufu, Nekina and khamitsaru Rivers


Manafwa District consists of three topographical regions, namely lowland Manafwa; Upland Manafwa and the mountain landscapes. On average the plain run in the west-south direction, from the borders of Mbale District to the south through to Namisindwa District. The dominant altitude of this landscape is 1800m. The upper part forms areas of Manafwa town Council and the surroundings while the mountainous are areas neighboring Bududa and Upper Namisindwa Districts. The general topographic and climatic conditions coupled with soil characteristics greatly differ resulting into different crop and livestock regimes


The District experiences bimodal type of rainfall with the highest coming in the first season of March to June and the second, which is normally light, in September to November. A short dry spell between June/July and a longer one between Decembers to March spell is experienced. In general there are no extreme temperature ranges, which are attributed to closeness to the equator and altitudinal modifications. The rainfall is evenly distributed throughout the district.


The average rainfall is 1500mm per annum. This very high rainfall is very supportive to intensive agriculture, which forms the backbone of the District economy, thus considered belonging to the area regarded as having highly reliable condition for agricultural production and hence part of the important national agricultural base and food basket.


Manafwa District falling on the slopes of Mt. Elgon is endowed with fertile volcanic soils that are a result of volcanicity and therefore volcanic ash. This soil is a clear indication that when the volcanic action took place, the volcanic ash over lay the original parent rock. The hills due to erosion are now having rock out crops while the wetlands and valleys due to deposition are having thick profiles

The texture also varies with the hill having loose easy to saturate soils while the valleys have thick clays which are however being overlain by the sediments from the hills hence change in the vegetation and landuse types


Due to its natural characteristics, the District is having big underground aquifers that determine the drainage systems. From the physical appearance, the District has two main surface drainage patterns i.e. dendritic and radial as a result of the volcanic processes

Mineral Resources

The District is well endowed with phosphates in Namekhala in Bukusu Hills, Vermiculite at Namekhala in Butiru and Bugobero; there are also phosphate deposits and iron. Quarry sites exist in around river Manafwa, khamitsaru, Liisi, Sinje and Passa for sand and Walanga and Sibanga hills for rocks. These quarries provide livelihood for local people who produce aggregates, hardcore and sand mining along the river beds for the construction industry. Other natural resources include Mt Elgon forest reserve/bamboo, Peri – Urban plantations at Manafwa District HQs forest reserve.


There are a variety of vegetation types, which are a result of a number of physical factors, in particular, climatic and altitudinal. Therefore as one climbs up, there is progressive change both in climate and vegetation zones. This leads to a situation where tropical savannah and grassland savannah on the plain change to tropical forest then to alpine vegetation towards the mountain summit. The different vegetation zones include grasses, forests and swampy vegetation bamboo a local delicacy which is uniquely the dominant vegetation in the temperate zones of Mt. Elgon.