The improved security situation has enabled the government and international community to shift the focus from emergency aid to sustainable development for the Karamojong – trying to convince people to settle down and plant crops.
This stands in stark contrast to southern Somalia, where the Al-Qaeda linked al-Shabaab rebels control large swathes of territory, or even neighboring Kenya’s Turkana district. Cattle raiding in Turkana, which borders Uganda’s Karamoja region, is still rife, because the Kenyan Army’s disarmament campaign has been patchy.
So while nomadic communities in Kenya’s Turkana region and in southern Somalia are bearing the brunt of a famine-inducing cocktail of drought and conflict, the Karamojong have not been hit as hard.
While that may be due to more favorable weather in Karamoja this year, the Ugandan government says it is the first sign that their policy of making the Karamojong settle down to farm is paying off.
"The Karamojong people had lost the will to struggle against the odds to and produce their own food," Janet Museveni, minister for Karamoja and wife of
Ugandan president Yoweri Museveni, said in a recent statement. "Our first task was to motivate people to begin the struggle for of food production again," Museveni said, pointing to tractor hire programs as an example.
Karamoja, though, is still a long way from being a success story.