Uganda experiences recurrent weather, environmental, and socioeconomic shocks and stressors, including drought, erratic rainfall, floods, landslides, disease, crop pests, unemployment, and intercommunal conflicts. As a result, many Ugandans suffer from food insecurity, malnutrition, illness, and poverty. The economic slowdown caused by the COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated food insecurity and poverty, particularly for households with limited access to savings, social safety networks or other coping mechanisms. Uganda is also host to Africa’s largest population of refugees, which numbered nearly 1.6 million as of February 2022. Refugees are vulnerable to shocks and stresses and heavily reliant on food assistance.
Karamoja, a major resilience focus zone, is one of the least developed regions of Uganda, with high levels of poverty, low levels of education, poor infrastructure, and lack of social services. Pastoralism is the dominant livelihood, although there has been a recent shift toward crop production and other livelihood activities. Karamoja has a history of armed conflict; however, after the 2010 disarmament, there was a decline in poverty. Unfortunately, Karamoja is also one of the regions most affected by shocks and stresses, and a recent resurgence of armed violence, a prolonged drought in 2018–2019, floods, a locust outbreak in 2019, and COVID-19 have reversed developmental gains.