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UGANDA: Weaning Karamoja off food aid
KAMPALA, 9 August 2012 (IRIN) – Uganda’s arid northeastern Karamoja region has been dependent on food aid for decades, but new programmes by the government and its partners aim to bring an end to the cycle of relief and see the traditionally nomadic Karimojong become more self-sufficient through more settled livelihoods.
The UN World Food Programme (WFP), which has provided food aid to the region for over 40 years, has significantly scaled back and changed the dynamics of its Karamoja operations. These now support 150,000 people in extremely vulnerable households, down from one million in 2009.
Increasingly, WFP and other NGOs in the region are moving away from food donations to cash-and-voucher-based food assistance programmes, in line with the government’s World Bank-funded Northern Uganda Social Action Fund (NUSAF) 2, which aims to improve the region’s infrastructure and create employment in the construction, health and agriculture sectors among others.
“We are finding a way out of the Karimojong continuously needing and depending on food aid. In line with the objective of improving the livelihoods in the region, we have shifted from food aid to food assistance. We shall only support the very extremely vulnerable individuals,” Sory Ouane, WFP country director, told IRIN.