ACF Karamoja Assessment - 3 - August-September 2008
The Karamoja region is located in the Northeast corner of Uganda and administratively divided intofive districts: Abim, Kaabong, Kotido, Moroto, and Nakapiripirit. Karamoja lies roughly between 1-4
latitude and 33-35
longitude, and covers an area of approximately 30,000 square kilometres. It isbordered in the East by Turkana and West Pokot districts of Kenya and in the North by Sudan. Thetotal population of the region is estimated at around one million, which constitutes roughly 4% ofthe total Uganda population.
Karamoja is the least populated area of Uganda, with only 35 peopleper square kilometre.The region is classified as semi-arid by Ugandan standards, and the high variability in temporal andspatial distribution of rain is the determining factor that influences livelihood strategies. Agro-pastoralism is the dominant livelihood system of the region. The livestock production systemintegrates seasonal movement of herds between wet and dry season grazing lands. Cereals such assorghum, millet and maize are also cultivated during the wet season and contribute to thehousehold production and economy. Due to its inherent risk minimisation, agro-pastoralism is anappropriate livelihood system in semi-arid lands, particularly livestock which are more resilient toseasonal inconsistencies than crops.Traditionally, livestock raiding with small handheld weapons like spears and sticks was practicedbetween (and usually not among) different clans for socioeconomic reasons such as asset creation,dowry, or expression of manhood. Raiding was sanctioned by elders and the intensity, frequency,and fatality were limited. The practice has however changed shape in the recent past and today isamong the main reasons for disrupted household livelihoods. The proliferation of small arms andlight weapons (SALW) into the area from neighbouring Sudan, Kenya, and to a lesser extent Ethiopiaand Somalia has fuelled the conflict.
Armed Karamojong repeatedly raided these regions andplanted the seed for today’s mistrust and animosity between these different ethnic groups.All human development indices show that Karamoja is one of the least developed parts of thecountry. Socioeconomic infrastructure and services such as schools, health centres, potable drinkingwater, roads, and production, processing, and marketing facilities are weak. Approximately 82% ofthe Karamoja population lives in poverty (defined as less than US$1/day), compared to the nationalaverage of 31%; global acute malnutrition (GAM) is 11% versus a national average of 6%.
Manysources indicate historical marginalisation, misguided pastoral policies, and a lack of developmentprogrammes as the major causes of the region’s tenacious poverty and conflict.A number of humanitarian and development actors are implementing programmes in nutrition, foodsecurity, water and sanitation, and relief distribution; the World Food Programme (WFP) isdistributing food aid for an estimated 700,000 people considered highly food insecure (of theroughly one million people in the region).ACF was first operational in Karamoja during the severe drought and emergency response of 1980-1983. Following a needs assessment conducted in late 2007, ACF committed itself to continuefeeding programmes formerly established by MSF Spain during their emergency response. Foodsecurity and livelihood (FSL) programming is also envisaged for 2009 to complement the corenutrition work in order to address underlying factors of malnutrition in Karamoja. Hence, a foodsecurity and livelihoods (FSL) assessment was initiated to define FSL priorities and provide guidancefor subsequent responses.A total of thirteen sub-counties were assessed by ACF in Kaabong and Moroto districts within a twoweek period in August 2008. The assessment primarily focused on the status of household foodsecurity and livelihoods, with supplementary but limited data collection on nutrition, water,sanitation, and hygiene
in Kaabong and Moroto districts of Karamoja. This resulting report attemptsto elaborate shifts in household food and income sources, coping strategies, performance of cropand livestock production.
OCHA-OPM (Office of the Prime Minister) Joint Fact sheet on Karamoja: Humanitarian and Development Realities in theRegion, 18 April 2008.
Guns and Governance in the Rift Valley: pastoralist conflict and small arms
. Indiana University Press.
The statistics in this paragraph are from UNOCHA (OPM) 2008, op cit.
Internal analysis of nutrition, water, sanitation, and hygiene data for which WASH findings are summarised in theAppendices.