Photo: Chris Herlinger
The Karamoja region of northeast Uganda has long had a tough go of it – drought, food insecurity and poverty have been among the area’s problems. The Karamojong people – agro-pastoralists who raise cattle as their chief means of survival and grow crops to supplement that – are among Uganda’s poorest and most politically marginalized ethnic groups.
But the TOGETHER program, a five-year initiative that began in 2012 and employs the respective competencies of CWS, MAP International, ECHO Inc., and the chief funder, St. Mary’s United Methodist Foundation, is trying to change that. The overarching theme of the project is to build resilience among communities so that they are strengthened and less vulnerable to the region’s many problems. When you break that down, that means improving livelihoods and providing access to food, as well as improving the overall health and environment for vulnerable communities.
One final goal is to reduce the damage caused by disasters through disaster risk reduction strategies and disaster mitigation training. Bringing together the various skills and talents of each organization means that CWS and the other agencies can focus on “holistic community development” and complement each other’s work.
What does CWS bring to the table? Disaster mitigation and education work, as well as the creation and strengthening of local youth groups. To advance this work, youth training centers are being created to teach skills in masonry, tailoring, carpentry, catering and animal husbandry.