Karamoja region located in the Northeast of Uganda is the poorest and least developed region in the country with a poverty line at 68%. It is comprised of seven districts: Kaabong, Abim, Kotido, Moroto, Napak, Nakapiripirit and Amudat.
According to Mercy Corps Country Director Edward Simiyu, they will use the donation to modernise agriculture. They also use it to boost nutrition, tourism sector and Road networks during the five years.
Simiyu however cautioned area leaders to monitor funding sources to ensure local people achieve the benefits.
“We have put up strong and robust safe guards to ensure no linkages of funds and our partners follow. This is so that rural communities benefit from the project,” Simiyu said.
“We have also guidelines and measures to fight any form of corruption tendencies, “he added.
Hon. Anyakun Esther, the Nakapiripit woman member of Parliament lauded Mercy Corps for supporting the Karamoja investment plan. She says this will improve food security as it will empower the community to practise modern agriculture. It will also enable them to harness water resources from catchment areas and promote their tourism sector.
“I wish to extend appreciation to Mercy Corps for the donation towards Karamoja sustainability. The government did lots of peacebuilding and disarmament but did not fund food security. We have been receiving food relief from the Prime Minister’s office and world food programme but it is peanuts, “Anyakun said.
However, a member of the Karamoja parliamentary investment steering Committee says Karamoja needs close to sh 1.5 trillion to address current challenges and speed up development in the region.
According to the investment plan they unveiled to the media, the 1.5trillion will be used to improve modern farming. To boost the tourism sector, water resources and good security.
John Byabagambi, the Karamoja Minister noted that Karamoja has suffered generations of conflict and instability. Uganda is a stable country with a population of 41.5 million people.
“Although Uganda is in a state of stability, some of its neighbours are not. Because of ongoing violence and conflict in South Sudan and the Democratic Republic of Congo, Uganda is now the second-largest refugee-hosting country on the planet, after Lebanon. Almost 1.1 million refugees have fled their home countries to seek refuge in Uganda.” Esther Anyakun, the Napapiripit Woman Member of Parliament said.
Byabagambi says the growing population is putting an increasing strain on already limited resources. For example, basic necessities like food and clean drinking water are out of reach for far too many Ugandans and refugees.
“One out of every four people in Uganda is malnourished and one out of every three children under the age of five is stunted due to malnourishment. Yet a majority of Ugandans, seven out of every 10, make a living in the agricultural sector. The increasing consequences of climate change are making it more difficult for Ugandan farmers to make a living. Many farmers across Uganda are reporting lower yields, which is contributing to mass malnutrition, “he explained.
Anyakun says unequal access to quality seeds and tools are disproportionately impacting on lives of communities. This is leading to an even higher risk of malnutrition and stunted growth.
Mercy Corps core work is in agricultural development, supporting farmers to increase productivity through climate-smart agriculture techniques.
“We offer this program to Ugandans and refugees. We also work on maternal-child health and nutrition and with communities to resolve local conflicts in a peaceful way.”
Since 2006, Mercy Corps reached millions of people and helped provide support for young people, professional development opportunities for farmers and more.
In 2017, they improved the social and economic well-being of 1.2 million people.
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