Building resilience for farmers in Uganda
Despite its fertile soil and favourable climate, Uganda still faces food insecurity and low levels of resilience, particularly in rural areas. This lack of resilience results in vulnerability amongst those on the borderline, leaving them at high risk of falling into poverty in the case of shocks and stresses. ACTED is working to support communities to build resilience and improve livelihoods throughout the Northern and Eastern regions of the country. In the North, ACTED works with over 1,000 farmers to reduce smallholder farmers’ post-harvest losses, through tailored training and the distribution of cutting-edge equipment. In the East, ACTED implements the Karamoja Drought Early Warning System, which provides communities with timely alerts of incoming climate shocks and supports them to mitigate the effects of droughts.
Enhancing Livelihoods for Marginalised Farmers in Northern Uganda
Northern Uganda emerged from civil war in 2007, and since then, ACTED has been supporting rural populations to improve livelihoods, increase market access and enhance infrastructure in the region. Through tailored trainings, and the provision of specially designed equipment, ACTED is supporting farmers to reduce post-harvest losses by over 92%. This revolutionary approach allows farmers to store more food for consumption during the dry season, while simultaneously improving household incomes by allowing households to sell excess produce. This increase in income allows farmers to invest in better health, nutrition and education for themselves and their families.
Building drought resilience in marginalized Karamoja region
With extremely low amounts of annual rainfall, and a population whose livelihoods primarily rely on pastoralism or agro-pastoralism, the Eastern Karamoja region is the driest region in Uganda. Through a system of data collection and analysis, ACTED provides monthly information on the risks of drought across Karamoja. The information, distributed to communities, local governments, and other concerned stakeholders is used to inform local resilience building activities and complement traditional pastoralist and agricultural knowledge, allowing communities to take mitigating actions such as planting different type of seeds at the right time or migrating animals to water points when the threat of drought is higher than usual.
Informing effective and relevant actions in vulnerable Karamoja
Since the disarmament of the Karamoja region began in the late 2000’s, development has begun to accelerate. At the same time, however, research focused on the region has been dwindling. ACTED is currently filling this research gap. Through a study, carried out across the region, ACTED engaged in conversations with communities, covering topics ranging from animal health to gender roles. ACTED produced a comprehensive map of migration routes, combined with in-depth analysis of the prevailing social, cultural and developmental status of the region. This data provides vital information to all interested stakeholders on what and where programmes should focus within Karamoja.
Building livelihoods and reducing the impact of climate-related disasters
Looking forward, ACTED will continue to support vulnerable communities to build resilience and enhance livelihoods in Karamoja and Northern Uganda. As climate-change accelerates, marginalised regions of the country can expect to face increasingly destructive weather events. ACTED will continue to provide capacity building, and technical support, in order to ensure that communities are able to withstand such shocks. ACTED will also continue to work with small-holder farmers. Decreasing food waste by reducing the post-harvest losses of smallholder farmers is a vital step towards meeting the world’s growing food needs, and is one of the pillars of the Zero Hunger Challenge.
Supporting resilience through early warning systems
The Drought Early Warning System provides communities in Karamoja with tailored recommendations, based on the outcomes of the drought bulletins. In September 2015, Kotido district suffered from a prolonged dry spell. In August 2015, a local community met with ACTED staff to discuss suggestions for building resilience. The community was recommended to construct a water-harvesting pond. When speaking to ACTED, a community member noted that “Before we built the pond, I often had to travel upwards of 60 kilometres to access water for our livestock, which took over a day”. With the pond in place, the community has more time to dedicate to other activities, allowing them to better care for themselves and their families during this period of delayed rains.