UK in major drive to end malnutrition in Karamoja

By Edwin Muhumuza

Government has committed to sustain all program interventions to strengthen the health systems to end malnutrition in Karamoja. This during the launch of the Karamoja Nutrition Program, an initiative funded by UKAid and implemented by the United Nations Children’s Fund(UNICEF) and the United Nations World Food Programme(WFP) in Kotido district.

Approximately 28million Pounds have been invested in Karamoja by the UK .The nutrition program is expected to strengthen government’s health system to ensure children and mothers across the region receive high quality health and nutrition services and are better nourished.

Chiefguest, the minister of Karamoja Affairs, Hon. John Byabagambi, in his remarks challenged local leaders to champion the program and not look at development partners as saviours.

‘’We must work for ourselves, our people and we go out whenever there is good weather to grow and store food.’’Byabagambi noted.

In attendance, area legislators and local government leaders continuously appealed for more support of Karamoja in education, Agriculture and more programs to which the minister urged them to own the program to benefit their communities.

‘’I don’t want any local leader to expect the development partners to lead their programs. You do not expect them to be everywhere because the money they have cannot satisfy all of us. We are lucky that they can get tax payers money from the UK and give it to us..’

Delegates sign on the board as a symbol of pledging to support the initiative.
Delegates sign on the board as a symbol of pledging to support the initiative.

Francesca Stidston, the Acting Head of Office for the Department for International Development(DFID) said ,’’reports say Karamoja has made commendable progress in improving health outcomes, however more needs to be done to ensure that even the hardest to reach have access to life saving services.’’

Ms Stidston noted that, the information gathered had steered the direction they took on the Karamoja Nutrition Program but also not forgetting that Malaria is the leading cause of sickness in the region therefore UK is pleased to launch this program along with our support for the prevention and control of malaria in this region.

‘’This program aims to save more lives, reduce vulnerability of women and children while ensuring increased productivity. The UK government remains committed to reaching 50million people by 2020 and such programs will continue,’’she added.

84% of people in Karamoja are unable to afford a nutritious daily diet,45% of households have limited access to food and over have of all households do not have much diversity in their diet. The reason why malnutrition is a major impediment to Karamoja’s development, undermining the health and economic prospects of the population,reports suggest.

Initially Karamoja was free from malnutrition but due to insecurity in the 90’s a lot of cattle was lost and so elders, children and pregnant mothers who entirely depended on milk and other by products for food could no longer have access to the nutritious food. This coupled with a harsh environment was not able to provide an alternative and hence communities resorted to consuming local gin/alcohol and thus malnutrition, according to local leaders.

Karamoja needs more school: MP Lokeris

By Moses Kidandi
Members of parliament  from Karamoja sub region have attributed he poor performance of pupils to lack of basic school necessities in their area. The MPs have explained that the the entire population in Karamoja has adopted a positive attitude towards education.
However Member of Parliament Dodoth East Kabong ,Samson Lokeris  says much as they have embraced the need to go to school,they don’t have schools and teachers. Lokeris is appealing to the ministry of Education to prioritize the setting up of more schools in the region so as to have more children enrolled.

UNICEF partners with Korean Agency to avail safe water in Karamoja

By Deo Wasswa

UNICEF and Korea International Cooperation Agency have signed a partnership to scale up water, sanitation and hygiene services in seven districts of Kalamoja.

The five year programme, worth 10 million US dollars will commence from May 2018 to 2022 and targeting to benefit over 56000 children   in 100 government aided schools and in communities.

The project will include, construction of infrastructure such as solar pipe water systems, rehabilitation of non functional boreholes, construction of latrines with hand washing facilities among others.

Speaking at the signing of the agreement, Doreen Mulenga, the UNICEF representative in Uganda has noted that open defecation among Karamajongs is still contributing to poor hygiene in this region and she is hopefully that building latrines will help to bring the practice to an end.

Other interventions of the project will include, provision of life skills education for girls, including menstrual hygiene management, social mobilization campaign to accelerate positive behavior change among the individuals and broader social  change among communities and district level advocacy.

USAID to help Karamoja to improve food security

By Gloria Nakiyimba
The United States government, through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), has   launched two new five-year activities, totaling $75 million US Dollars , to improve food and nutrition security in the Karamoja sub-region.
 The activities will focus on improving health and nutrition, on and off-farm livelihoods, local governance and civil society, and water, sanitation and hygiene conditions.
According to a statement from the United States Mission in Kampala, the Nuyok Activity meaning “it is ours” will be implement by Catholic Relief Services and its partners in the districts of Abim, Nakapiripirit and Napak.
Mercy Corps and partners will implement the Apolou Activity meaning “growth” in  Kaabong, Kotido, Moroto and Amudat districts.
Karamoja   is the most nutritionally vulnerable region in Uganda and the third most vulnerable to stunting in East Africa.

Irish Government provides 7.2 million Euros to improve education in Karamoja

By Gloria Nakiyimba

Photo Credit: Irish Aid

150,000 children in schools in Karamoja will benefit from the 7.2 million Euros; about Ush 27.5 billion provided by the Irish Government.

According to Irish Ambassador, Dónal Cronin the funds channeled through UNICEF will support the Ministry of Education and Sports, to improve quality education for the most vulnerable children and adolescent girls across the Karamoja region.

Children at risk of dropping out of school and children with disabilities and special learning needs are targeted under the Irish supported program.

“This contribution from Ireland is critical in improving the skills and future of young people in Karamoja, Education is key to the region’s development and this support, to be implemented by our partner UNICEF, is part of our ongoing efforts to empower some of the most vulnerable communities in Uganda” said Ambassador Cronin.

The support will also address cultural and social practices that continue to undermine inclusive and quality learning.

The five year program aims to reduce gender gaps in enrolment and completion; improve learning outcomes in basic education; increase the transition of students from primary school to secondary school; and increase awareness within families and communities on the importance of investing in education for both girls and boys.

It will focus on enhancing teacher effectiveness, strengthening school management, assessing and monitoring learning outcomes, addressing issues of violence in schools, strengthening girls’ education, and promoting peace building and conflict-sensitive education.

“This support from the people of Ireland will help thousands of children to stay in school and have a higher quality education, especially adolescent girls who have a critical role in transforming the living conditions of their families and communities in the future,” said Ms. Aida Girma, UNICEF Representative in Uganda.

82 per cent of all 6 to 17 year old children in the region are living in poverty while 14 per cent complete primary school level and 25 per cent transition to secondary school in Karamoja compared to the national average of 67 per cent and 70 per cent respectively.


Priest in Gulu blames Government for ignoring drought problems in Karamoja

A catholic priest in Gulu town has attacked government over its failure to address drought and its adverse effects for many years.

Reverend Father Erick Uma, the parish priest of Holy Rosary Catholic Parish, says the government is acting dead by not rising up to mitigate the effects of drought among citizens for far too long.

Preaching during the morning mass at Holy Rosary Church on Sunday, Father Uma said the government of President Yoweri Museveni has failed to address drought and famine in the Karamoja region for thirty long years leading to tremendous death of many people.

“How can a government that has been in power for over thirty years fail to address the problems of drought and famine yet you claim you are working?” he questioned.

“This is a dead government that should not be voted again in power. You the people of Uganda have been voting blindly for thirty years,” he stressed with confidence in his voice as the congregation cheered.

Father Uma said the poor state of roads, education, health and electricity sectors should have been improved years ago to show good signs of development.

He also criticised politicians at local government levels for what he called failure to address critical issues affecting the local people.

The priest then charged that the people of Uganda want change before accusing Christians of indulging in commercial sex for money.

Father Uma asked the congregation to turn to the church and follow the lives of Christ who showed love and trust for his people.

The accusations come as government put the number of people facing hunger as a result of drought at 1.5 million.


Karamoja records a reduction in female genital mutilation

By Daudi Zirimala
There has been a reduction of cases of female genital mutilation FGM in Karamoja. The officer in charge family protection unit Kotido police station Osbert Turyahebwa, attributes this to the ongoing sensitization of cultural leaders about the negative impact of FGM to the development of the society.
Turyahebwa says after the engagement of developing partners into this campaign, many people have neglected the practice currently recorded at 5% in Karamoja sub region.


By Daudi Zirimala

A report by the National Planning Authority shows that an estimated 8.1 million children in Uganda live under conditions of serious deprivation or danger threatening their survival and well being.

The head of population and social sector planning at the NPA John Ssekamatte, reveals that 8% of children in Uganda are critically vulnerable, 43% moderately vulnerable while 55% of children under five years of age are affected by child poverty.

He names Karamoja and West Nile as regions with the highest percentage of children experiencing multiple child poverty currently standing at 68%


Children’s rights in Karamoja continue to violated as Africa prepares to commemorate the day of the African child

By Waswa Deo

Leaving home for the street,  committing suicide or denying parents are some of the choices children may resort to if they are extremely neglected and abused by their parents.

14 year old Lagit Caroline who goes to school at Katikit primary school in Amudat district was survived being married off by her father after he was promised cattle by the would be groom. Lagit fled home to her auntie’s place in Moroto.

While speaking at the celebrations of the day of the African child in Kapchworwa, Lagit urged authorities across the country to put in place tough laws to deal with parents who deny their children rights especially  to education.

After Lagit’s experience she initiated and championed the  Katikit Pupil’s rights club which advocates for children’s rights in the karamoja region.

On 16thth June, Africa will be commemorating the day of the African child but children especially in the Karamoja region continue to be subjected to violence and neglect under the guise of cultural norms despite efforts by the government and partners to curb the situation.



By Alice Lubwama

Lawmakers from Karamoja are angry with President Museveni for betraying them when he did not appoint any full minister from the sub region yet the people of Karamoja have always supported the NRM Government.

Dodoth East MP Samson Lokeris, Kaabong district woman MP  Christine Nakwang , Moroto municipality representative Fred Angella, Christopher Kipterit  for UPE,  and former MP Simon Aleper  say  that  it makes Karimojongs  foolish to continue claiming they are in NRM party when the authority undermines them in decision making.

They made the remarks while addressing journalists at Parliament in Kampala.  The leaders say they will write to the president protesting his action. The president appointed only two state ministers from Karamoja including Simon Lokodo for Ethics and Lokeris Peter state minister for minerals.