By Grace Loumo, Founder/Exec. Director & Teddy Curran, Technical Director, AWARE Uganda - Nov 2013
Deaths, Famine and Illness Due to Climatic Extremes
Extreme weather conditions in Karamoja have resulted in hardship, deaths and famines in the region.
A combination of severe flooding and drought has destroyed crops and infrastructure, with fatal consequencies.
Transportation and road links were destroyed by landslides, making the work of AWARE virtually impossible. Also, AWARE Uganda's orchard has suffered badly.
Emergency food and item distribution took place in Kamion sub-county at Usake parish in Kaabong District to support the hunger situation in Kaabong.
Jiggers have been affecting families in Karamoja due to the poor health status and environment.
Jiggers, small insects ('sand fleas'), are the culprits of the epidemic which causes parts of the body to rot. They often enter through the feet. Once inside a person's body, they suck the blood, grow, and can breed, multiplying by the hundreds. Affected body parts - buttocks, lips, even eyelids - rot away.
If untreated, Jiggers can cause fatal infections, especially in malnourished vulnerable communities with poor sanitary conditions.
AWARE has been caring for families with jiggers, helping reduce the infection through disinfection and raising awarness about hygiene.
Help from Overseas Supporters and Funders
Three international visitors recently came to visit the AWARE to monitor programmes and the work of AWARE. These were: Global Human Rights UN, Regina Pritchett from Hauirou Commission, and American Jewish World Service (AJWS).
The main purpose of their visits, during the disaster of hunger, was to help with disaster relief and supply food, medicine, counseling, temporary shelter, clean water, and improved technology.
Simple Technology for Sustainable Local Food Security - 'Garden Bags'
AWARE has been working on a Resilience Campaign for food security by using improved technology – for example, planting in plastic bags.
The Huairou Commission Community Resilience Campaign aims to empower grassroots women's networks to gain the support of partners including local authorities, national governments, donors, and academics, to bring their priorities and practices to the forefront of policy programming in order to reduce vulnerabilities to disasters, climate change and poverty. The programme started in June 2013 as part of Huairou Commission Projects.
The resilience programme involves training on communication and dialogue relating to tackling draught, HIV/AIDs, food security, and climate change.
Women's groups were supplied with seed. Growing short-term crops like vegetable garden bag planting with improved technology was introduced and the women were encouraged to use them as means of providing for themselves and not relying on foreign support. This provides quick and safe produce for the children and women of Kaabong.
The Community Resilience Campaign envisions a holistic, pro-active approach to reducing vulnerabilities to poverty, disasters, and climate change, in which organised groups of grassroots women frame resilience in their own terms such as improving housing, basic services, food security, livelihoods, and protecting the natural environment.
AWARE was awarded 30 bicycles to help paralegals and care workers carry out their work in the communities.
The 30 bicycles were awarded through the American Jewish World Service (AJWS).
Water Harvesting Technology
Water harvesting technology has continued to be introduced to all schools and households in Kaabong to collect clean water.
White Ribbon Alliance for Safe Motherhood
Ms. Robina Biteyi, National Coordinator for the White Ribbon Alliance for Safe Motherhood in Uganda, visited with AWARE and shared views and observed our work. We were introduced through our partner, Safe World for Women.
Domestic Abuse, Violence and Women's Rights
The Women's Human Rights Programme on sensitizing about domestic violence and women's rights campaigns is one of the activities carried out in the communities, and cases have been reported to the local authority to deal with the cases.
HIV/AIDS - Awareness Programme in Army Barracks
Captain Ojatum, leader of the army [Uganda People Defence Forces/UPDF] in Kaabong, has agreed to work together with AWARE on a HIV/AIDS awareness programme in the army barracks.
HIV/AIDS - Counselling and Condoms
Program for Accessible Health, Communication and Education (PACE) has continued to support AWARE's HIV/AIDS programme through counseling, supply of condoms, jerry cans, medicines, and food.The
CARE's programme is a continuous progamme for AWARE in the community for patients living with HIV/AIDS.
Stigma around HIV/AIDS often means that people stop taking essential drugs.