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Community participation, capacity building and disaster risk reduction to promote sustainable economic development amongst vulnerable rural communities - In 2011, ACTED focused its intervention on strengthening livelihoods through improved resource management, conflict mitigation and capacity building. In Northern Uganda, as internally displaced persons (IDPs) have returned home and gained access to land, ACTED has been working with farmers on infrastructure and capacity development to rebuild agricultural livelihoods. In the Karamoja/Pokot area, ACTED responded to severe food insecurity caused by the drought in the Horn of Africa, providing support to agro-pastoral communities to increase their purchasing power and protect their assets, reducing vulnerability to natural disasters. As part of its integrated cross-border strategy between Uganda and Kenya, ACTED has maintained its community-driven disaster risk reduction (DRR) focus and promoted conflict mitigation to ensure peaceful and sustainable access to shared resources.
Rebuilding livelihoods in a region recovering from war
Improved security in Northern Uganda enabled tens of thousands of IDPs to return and to initiate their recovery process. Yet this process has been hindered by major factors including insufficient capital and infrastructure for people to pursue productive agricultural activities, combined with a lack of agricultural knowledge. ACTED aimed to address these needs through livelihood strengthening programmes and income generating activities (IGAs). ACTED implemented two projects for the restoration of agricultural livelihoods whereby farmers took part in the construction or rehabilitation of community access roads, water points, latrines, and satellite collection point systems. This, coupled with post-harvest handling and marketing training, contributed to creating a better environment for agricultural production, and strengthening the livelihoods of the beneficiary farmer groups’ members. ACTED also supported more than 160 community groups to increase their income by providing income generation grants. These groups were introduced to Village Savings and Loans Associations (VSLAs) to develop community level access to credit and build a savings culture among the rural population. In parallel, the organization worked with Savings and Credit Cooperatives (SACCOs), building their capacity to become reliable rural financial service providers.
Addressing emergency needs while building the resiliency of agro-pastoral populations to chronic disasters
ACTED Uganda responded to the 2011 drought in the West Pokot region of Kenya through activities enhancing food security, protecting livestock assets, and water resources. ACTED has continued its work on a cross-border basis in Karamoja (Uganda) and Pokot (Kenya) as the agro-pastoral communities in these areas move freely across the border and share cultural and livelihood characteristics. However, resources in the Karamoja cluster are becoming increasingly scarce owing to repeated climatic shocks, and raising tensions between communities. In 2011, ACTED’s projects aimed to enhance community level and cross-border drought planning, and to foster better rangeland management and shared use of resources of communities who access the same pasture and cattle migration corridors. Working through community structures such as Agro-Pastoral Field Schools (APFSs), Community Disaster Management Committees (CDMCs) and Community Animal Health Workers (CAHWs), ACTED supported communities to enhance traditional livelihoods and reduce drought vulnerability through adequate disaster preparedness, improved livestock care and post-harvest practices, land use planning and rangeland management. ACTED strives to emphasise the importance of community-based disaster management throughout its activities. As part of its integrated approach to mainstream DRR, ACTED has continued providing support to the Government of Uganda in reinforcing the Drought Early Warning System (DEWS) in Karamoja.
Promoting sustainable economic development by building the capacity of the communities
ACTED Uganda is committed to strengthening livelihoods by developing local economies and its cross-border strategy to achieve effective disaster preparedness and response. In both Northern Uganda and the Karamoja Cluster, ACTED sees the food insecurity and economic fragility as lasting issues that require long term, development-oriented responses. It is sensitive both to environmental and climatic changes and the value of traditional pastoralist livelihoods and coping mechanisms. ACTED’s efforts are geared towards building the resilience of communities to disasters and improving their long-term food security. The threat of conflict over pasture, water, and cattle-raiding restricts the movements of the communities and weakens their ability to cope with the dry season and periodic droughts. In 2012, ACTED will maintain a strong focus on this approach and will look at extending it further along the border with Kenya. ACTED will continue working with community-level structures and initiatives such as the APFS, the CDMCs or the DEWS to continue building the communities’ resilience to disasters. In Northern Uganda its interventions will remain focused on increasing market access and capacity building of farmers by supporting local economic initiatives.
Partners in 2011
European Commission Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection Department (ECHO), EuropeAid, The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), World Food Program (WFP), United Nations Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO), Royal Norwegian Embassy (RNE).