AWARE-orchardGrace Loumo (right) inspects tree in the AWARE Uganda orchard.

15th May 2013 - Flood Emergency

4,000 People Displaced

Since receiving the report below, Safe World was sent the following news from AWARE Uganda, emphasising the urgency of the situation:

"Greetings from Kaabong our community has again been stricken by natural hazard, which has displaced about 4,000 people including women, children and breast feeding mothers among others.
We are appealing for support in any kind to help the vulnerable women, children and other communities affected by this natural disaster.
 
Thank you,
Mrs Grace Loumo, Executive Director/Founder"

Women as Agents of Change

AWARE Uganda was privileged to attend a consultative meeting on Resilience Uganda Country Programming Paper (CPP) to End Drought Emergencies in the Horn of Africa on 14 March 2013, at St. Peter's Community Hall, Kotido, in Northern Uganda.

Response to the CPP by Grace Loumo, Founder/Executive Director of AWARE Uganda, May 2013

Gender Equality Perspective is Essential

Gender inequality intersects with climate risk and vulnerabilities; women's historic disadvantages – their limited access to resource, restricted rights and a muted voice in shaping decisions make them highly vulnerable to climate change.

The nature of that vulnerability varies wildly, cautioning against generalization. But climate change is likely to magnify existing patterns of gender disadvantage.

So, we would like to bring to your attention the CPP DRAFT; it should be clearly noted that both women and men are the beneficiaries of the project. Otherwise, Karamoja women would have a raw deal, since customarily women are given low status.

Grassroots women are not passive: they do not only receive help –  they are active agents with different capacities to respond to challenges posed by climate change.

Most of the Uganda CPP draft so far has been gender-blind, because climate change affects women and men differently. A gender equality pespective is essential when discussing policy development, decision-making, and strategies to mitigation and adaptation.

Women are not helpless victims, they are powerful agents of change and their leadership is critical.

Women can help or hinder strategies related to energy use, deforestation, population, economic growth, science and technology, and policy making, among others, so let Karamoja agro-pastoralists women appear as the beneficiaries and implementers on the draft.


Call for Action

Draft of Resilience Uganda Country Programming Paper (CPP) to End Drought Emergencies in the Horn of Africa

Compiled by Lomilo Martin Hosea, Field officer, AWARE-Uganda

The CPP Objective

To improve livelihoods and enhance resilience of communities to drought by transforming the agro-pastoralist and pastoralists sector into a more profitable, integrated and resilient

economic system thereby improving food and nutrition security.

Especially the cattle corridors –  e.g. Karamoja.

The Uganda country priorities were summarized into six (6) components below:

  • A. Natural resource management.
  • B. Market access and Trade.
  • C. Livelihood Support.
  • D. Pastoral Risks Management.
  • E. Research and Knowledge Management.
  • F. Peace Building and Conflict Resolution.

The Current Situation on the Ground:

Food Insecurity Caused by Man-Made and Natural Disasters

 Man-made disasters

  • Environmental degradation caused by cutting trees for charcoal, firewood and building materials for purposes to generate income and over grazing of animals.
  • Wild fire and burning caused by children hunting for rats.

 Natural disasters

  • Food insecurity (shortages of food) caused by last year's 2012 climate changes due to experienced seasons of heavy rains which damaged crops before the flowering stage.
  • The gardens were water logged to the extent of plants (crops) changed color into pale-yellow and as a result, there was no harvest at all.
  • Soil erosion, floods, storms, destruction by wind.

Food Insecurity

Advanced Food Insecurity in the Communities Leading to Starvation. Most families can't afford a meal in two days

  • Increase in theft/burglary (by those who are jobless or without animals), other related crimes of defilement, rape, forced marriages, unwanted pregnancies, children abused /neglected, orphans / vulnerable and street children. ( by parents / caretakers).
  • Environmental / land degradation by man and animals; continuous cutting of trees and over- grazing as said before and besides the current security situation, the communities risks to and from the bushes to harvest wild green vegetables / wild fruits to feed the families.
  • Increase in insecurity (frequent internal raids) to steal from each other; chicken, goats and cows generally food and non- food items for survival. Some is sold to get money to buy some available food from the market if any that comes from outside the Districts Mbale, Soroti, Kitgum, Lira, and Gulu, respectively – depending on the roads conditions.
  • Some items seen at the market are perishable. Sometimes food is not good for human consumption and spoilt.
  • Fluctuation of the market food commodity prices e.g. the common food (meat) in 2011 at 3,000/= per kg. Increased to 6,000/= in 2012, 2013. This is 50% of the original price. Cereals in 2011 at 800/= per kg. Increased to 1,600/= in 2012, 2013 also 50% of the original price.
  • Shortages of food in the community due to 2012 climate change a natural disaster which caused no harvest at all. This includes the traditional seed varieties and hence, no seeds for planting these for season 2013.
  • Even if there is some money for those who are rich, there is no food to buy.

The Implications to the Community

  • There are already indicators of malnutrition leading to death this year 2013. A high dependency on natural resources. The threat is likely to affect; pregnant / lactating mothers, vulnerable groups: disabled, old-age, abandoned/neglected, HIV/AIDS clients, etc.
    NB: HIV/AIDS clients are currently on therapeutic treatment. Patients complain of the effects after a dose/toxic without food, and results to death 

Risks and Consequence for the General Population

  • There will be increased insecurity; internal raids, theft/burglary as indicators show today.
  • Increase in prostitution and divorce by both married and un- married men/women due to poverty. Increases the spread of HIV/AIDS, defilement, rape, forced marriages, children neglect /abandoned or GBV (gender-based violence) cases.
  • Wide-spread poverty.
  • Inequitable land distribution.

Needs for the Community

(i) The first priority for intervention

  • General food distribution to save life or meet the target possible vulnerable groups.
  • Distribution of hand tools and seeds; short term and drought resistant crops: maize, millet, sorghum, pulses, and groundnuts.

 

(ii) The second priority for intervention

  • Mobilization and sensitization of the community on the effects of climate changes, food security in times of food shortages, proper preservative methods and building adaptive capacity.

 

(iii) Increased knowledge

  • Sensitization of the community on the early warning systems and avoiding bad cultural practices (waste of food for marriages rituals' and celebration), miss-use of food. Mainstreaming gender equality on resilience, planting of trees (re-afforestation) and how to use the wet lands (use water near to the river sides to provide green vegetable by watering.

 

(iv) The government to eliminate corruption and misuse of government funds for community development

  • Proper Implementation of activities by Government or non ­Governmental organizations and C.B.Os (community-based organisations.
  • Accountability and transparency to be noted.
  • Stop abuse of the office by those working to implement the community based activities. E.g. the National Agricultural Advisory Services (NAADS) and the Northern Uganda Social Action Fund ( NUSAF) I or II projects.
  • Proper employment opportunities by government and development partners avoiding employment of relatives/friends.
  • The law implementers should be committed - both JLOS [Justice Law & Order Sector] and the police.

Area of Interest by AWARE Uganda

  • Mass sensitization on food security resilience campaign.
  • Improved seeds/mass irrigation.
  • Proper information on global warming and planting.
  • Food preservation/storage.
  • Environmental conservation.
  • Land management.
  • Psychosocial support and building capacities of grassroots women on resilience for adaptation.