Karamoja, located in the north-east, is one of the poorest regions in Uganda, with income poverty at 61% and food poverty at 70% (UNHS, 2016/17). The region comprises of four livelihood zones i.e. sorghum-livestock zone, maize-livestock zone, mixed crop zone and apiarypotato zone. The population is mainly rural, with livelihoods based on livestock and crop production, and of recent, a growing range of diversified livelihood activities. The region continues to have the highest food insecurity and malnutrition levels in Ugand, due to factors related to inadequate food, poor dietary diversity, structural poverty, limited livelihood options, poor hygiene and sanitation, and disease, with a recent overall improvement in safe water source access but low water use. The region also faces a predisposition to recurrent climaterelated shocks such as long mid-season dry spells / drought, erratic rainfall, that often causes floods / water logging, etc. There is pronounced vulnerability to other shocks such as food price increases, declines in livestock or crop production and market disruptions.
In the current period (March – July 2021), six districts in Karamoja are classified in IPC Phase 3 (Crisis), with 30% of the population (361,000 people) faced with high levels of acute food insecurity (IPC Phase 3 or above) in the region. With the exception of Amudat, Karenga and Nakapiripirit districts, that are in IPC Phase 2 (Stressed), all the other districts have been classified in IPC Phase 3 (Crisis). Overall, the food security situation in the region has deteriorated with the highly food insecure population (IPC Phase 3 or above) increasing from 27% in June 2020 to 30% in March 2021. Households faced with high acute food insecurity have large food consumption gaps and can only meet their minimum food consumption requirements after employing Crisis and Emergency coping strategies. Children in these households are also facing high levels of acute malnutrition due to inadequate access to food.
It is expected that the food security situation will slightly improve in the projection period of August 2021 – January 2022, due to seasonal expected harvest and milk availability, with the population facing high acute food insecurity declining from 361,000 (30%) to 188,000 (15%). The districts of Abim, Napak and Nabilatuk are projected to improve from IPC Phase 3 (Crisis) to IPC Phase 2 (Stressed), whereas Kaabong,
Kotido and Moroto will remain in IPC Phase 3 (Crisis) through the projection period.
Based on both Acute Food Insecurity (AFI) and Acute Malnutrition (AMN) analyses of Karamoja, the current results indicate a similar classification in Karenga, Nakapiripirit, Moroto, Kotido and Napak. The remaining districts of Kaabong, Nabilatuk, Amudat and Abim showed different classifications for AFI and AMN, with high levels of AMN but low levels of AFI in Kaabong and Amudat, while Nabilatuk and Abim had high levels of AFI and low levels of AMN. Notably, Kaabong and Amudat had different classifications, with severe AMN classifications mainly attributed to very poor quality and quantity of food, high food insecurity, poor sanitation / latrine coverage, low per capita water use and reduced child care and inadequate breastfeeding, exposing the children to recurrent infections leading to increased malnutrition incidences.