Uganda: Kids give up stealing firewood

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Kids in the Moroto district of Karamoja were forever getting in trouble for stealing wood from village fences. They did this to feed the fire on which their WFP school meals were cooked. Fuel efficient SAFE stoves mean they don't have to any more.

MOROTO -- In the Iriri sub-county of Moroto, children's daily walk to school is also a search for firewood. Each day, kids are required by the school to contribute at least one stick so it can cook the WFP food they receive.

In addition to the risks women and children - who are the main gatherers of firewood - face when venturing into unsafe environments in search for firewood, this is also creating tensions at the household level. At times, children have no other choice but to secretly fetch from the heavily protected wood-fences of their villages ( manyattas), causing the fury of their parents.

To address these challenges and lighten the burden on children and their families, since 2006 WFP has been targeting schools with fuel-efficient stoves ( Jiko ) - and related cooking utensils - and support to the development of school gardens and woodlots.

Since stoves have been introduced, schools have been able to save up to fifty percent of their fuel requirements. According to a school principal: "I even told kids to stop bringing wood to school as, for the first time, the amount of firewood was beyond what was actually needed".

To date, in Karamoja only, 110 schools have been provided with stoves, while 172 more are yet to receive support.

School meals in Karamoja

Contrary to most part of Uganda where WFP is handing over its school feeding activities to parents and communities, in Karamoja persistent food security and an extremely low completion rate (6-7 percent in four of the five districts of the region) has led WFP to continue its support to school-aged children.

WFP in Karamoja: Facts and Figures:

- WFP is currently assisting an estimated 1.2 million drought affected people in Karamoja through general food distribution;

- WFP currently assists 228 schools with school feeding in Karamoja, the only region in Uganda where school feeding by WFP is still active;

- Out of 282, 172 schools have not been targeted yet with institutional energy saving stoves.