WFP programme yields trees, dams, 56 acres of crops

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An initiative in which WFP works directly with the Government of Uganda in Karamoja has generated assets that promise to boost incomes and food security while increasing badly needed access to social services.

KAMPALA – A development project that WFP implements through the Second Northern Uganda Social Action Fund (NUSAF 2) yielded close to 56,000 acres of crops in addition to dams, trees, roads and other community assets in the northeastern Karamoja region last year, WFP’s Country Director, Sory Ouane, said today.

Ouane said that the project helped communities to establish nearly 40,000 acres of staple crops and 16,000 of vegetables, in addition to over 70 surface dams, close to 4,000 low-energy cooking stoves, 340 kms of repaired feeder roads, 300 acres of trees and other assets.

“WFP is happy to operate through NUSAF 2, which is striving to increase incomes and improve social services in the northern parts of Uganda,” Ouane said.

“In the process we are taking on an important role of helping to find lasting solutions to hunger in Karamoja.”

Previously, WFP operations in Karamoja were largely relief, with the agency reaching an estimated one million people in 2009. Under the NUSAF 2 partnership, WFP is helping the people of Karamoja to find a way out of continuously needing and depending on food aid.

Since 2010, only extremely vulnerable households – those with no able-bodied head - and malnourished children receive unconditional WFP support. Households with able-bodied heads are encouraged to joint the WFP/NUSAF 2 project where they receive WFP assistance through food/cash-for-work schemes.

WFP’s relief programme reached an estimated 147,000 people last year, while the WFP/NUSAF 2 project, where WFP works closely also with the Food and Agriculture Organization, benefited about 460,000.

The United Kingdom, Japan, Norway and Sweden funded the WFP/NUSAF 2 project, which helped to protect Karamoja from drought impacts that devastated parts of the Horn of Africa last year.

WFP implements the relief and assets projects in addition to a safety net aimed at addressing chronic hunger among young children. The safety net includes school meals, the mother and child nutrition programme and an early childhood development programme, which WFP started last year.

Karamoja consistently registers the lowest human development indicators for the entire country. Like the rest of the Horn of Africa, Karamoja is known for its chronic food insecurity and vulnerability to hunger, as well as its very poor access to basic social services.

A combination of chronic underdevelopment and recurrent drought, coupled with persistent insecurity associated with cattle rustling, has affected the capacity of households in Karamoja to provide for themselves.