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KARAMOJA IN BRIEF

Karamoja is an agro-pastoralist region, northeast of Uganda. For the past decades, it has been characterized by chronic underdevelopment and marginalization. The region is currently going through a deep humanitarian crisis, combining severe food insecurity, human insecurity and environmental destruction, all linked to global climate change. 

Atmosphere

Rain and season patterns Karamoja is a remote region located near the Rift Valley in East Africa. Rain patterns are low, with an average of 500-700 millilitres of rainfall per year. But in contrast to purely pastoralist areas in the region, like the neighbouring Turkana, Karamoja is an agro-pastoralist area. However, the natural environment is subject to variations which are scarcely predictable, and are often unexpected. It is  generally accepted in official reports that the rainy season ‘normally’ begins late in March or early April; and that the rains then continue with reasonable regularity until late September or early October when the dry season begins.

The visible impact of global climate change Karamoja is located far from any major urban centres. In Karamoja itself, there is little urban development. The principle way of life in the region remains pastoralism, which contributes little in carbon emissions.

Nomads such as the Karimojong have coped for centuries with adverse weather conditions, and have often been more successful coping with changing situations than the sedentary populations, as they could react more flexibly to changing conditions. But the contemporary changes in climate will most probably overburden the population.

Biosphere

The recent environmental destruction, whose fault? Karamoja is sub-divided into three ecological categories running from the east to the west, with the west endowed with best prospects. In general, however, the vegetation is characterized by thorny bushes, cammiphora woodlands, occasional small trees and patches of grassland.

Economy

Karamoja has the worst socio-economic indicators in Uganda. The region has been under constant food aid since the famine of the early eighties, and it has lagged behind in terms of health, education or infrastructure development. Life expectancy is estimated to be 42 years, whereas it is about 52 years in Uganda. The reasons for this extreme poverty are multilayered, interconnected, and surely controversial.

Understanding the complexity of ecological factors: the clue to analyzing the economy of Karamoja

Agriculture as a mere, though necessary, complement

Many Karimojong can be said to be involved in a mixed agro-pastoral economy. This dual system revolves around two locations at the same time. The permanent settlement, the so-called manyatta, where predominantly agricultural production takes place and some animals are kept, and the mobile cattle camp, the kraal, for pastoral production.

Agriculture is practiced to the extent permitted by the constraints in the ecological conditions.

Consequently, agricultural activity has only a complementary role in the field of Karimojong economic activity, but it is an important role because, without it, survival would be a much more complicated matter. In case of complete crop failure, people resort to exchanging livestock with agricultural products with neighbouring tribes, or everybody tends to move to the cattle camps and depend on cattle completely until a new crop is harvested.

DADO'S MISSION

To empower Agro-Pastoralist in Dodoth to Achieve Improved and Sustainable Livelihoods through Improved Agriculture [Cropping and Animal Health], Business skills development and Income Generating Activities, Domestic Violence Prevention and HIV/AIDS Awareness /Education, Peace Building, Conflict Mitigation and Transformation, Human Rights, Good Governance, Lobby and Advocacy for Pastoral Rights.