Resilience Context Analysis: Resilience to food insecurity and malnutrition in Karamoja, Uganda - April 2015

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The Resilience Analysis Unit, led by the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) and supported by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, the United Nations Development Programme, the United Nations Children’s Fund, and the World Food Programme, carried out the present context analysis with the aim of better understanding resilience to food insecurity and malnutrition in Karamoja, Uganda. It is intended to contribute to the operationalization of the IGAD drought disaster resilience and sustainability initiative and to other in-country efforts to strengthen resilience.

The study was undertaken between August and December 2014, by an inter-agency technical team using multiple data sources, including both quantitative and qualitative methods, which was complemented by inputs from the communities concerned and key informants. After the overall conceptual framework and methodology had been developed, an overview of the socioeconomic context of Karamoja, including main livelihood systems and existing programmes and policies, was documented.

The key shocks and stresses which have commonly affected the population in Karamoja in recent years were then analysed and the trends in the shocks and stresses experienced in the region between 2011 and 2014 and those of food security and nutrition were examined. Local households were categorized into two groups, namely resilient and non-resilient households, based on two criteria: (1) food secure – households with an acceptable food consumption score; and (2) no malnourished children – households where no child was wasted, stunted or underweight based on weight-for-height, weight-for-age and height-for-age scores. Analysis was then carried out to identify a range of “resilience capacities” – absorptive, adaptive and transformative – which distinguished resilient households.

Some of the key preliminary findings derived from this resilience context analysis are as follows:

• Karamoja has experienced multiple shocks and stresses in the recent past. Most prominent among those are drought, floods, livestock and crop diseases, insecurity, high food prices and relatively limited access to basic services. Many of those shocks and stresses overlap.

• While some of the food insecurity and malnutrition variables investigated seemed to be on an increasing trend between 2011 and 2014, direct linkages between the drivers of food insecurity and malnutrition and the shocks the region has sustained are not statistically established in the present report. However, trend analysis and feedback from the range of stakeholders consulted in the study area showed that cumulative shocks and stresses had had a bearing on household food insecurity and malnutrition in the past.

• A range of capacities was identified as important in contributing to resilience to food insecurity and malnutrition in Karamoja, including:

• Absorptive capacity, represented by livestock ownership, informal social safety nets and small businesses.

• Adaptive capacity, represented by access to productive and secure land, livelihood risk diversification and household labour capacity.

• Transformative capacity, represented by access to social and productive services, access to credit and savings, and the empowerment of women, youth and local leadership.

• According to the research, some of the possible priority interventions which would enhance local resilience to food insecurity and malnutrition in Karamoja are:

• Livelihood support, which includes strengthening pastoral production and diversification of activities.

• Support for access to basic services to strengthen human and social capital.

• Support for both formal and informal social safety nets and social protection.

• Support for local governance and empowerment with due consideration for women and youth.

Finally, the study recommended some of the resilience indicators that could be used to quantify the impacts of interventions and could be incorporated in the monitoring and evaluation frameworks for the operationalization of the IGAD drought disaster resilience and sustainability initiative and other relevant in-country efforts to strengthen resilience in Karamoja.