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Publication | 7 February 2021

Situation Analysis of Food, Nutrition and Income Insecurity in Karamoja - A normalising view of Karamoja

After decades of failing development aid, the World Food Programme (WFP) in Uganda has committed itself to identifying innovative approaches to better address food, nutrition and income insecurity in the Karamoja sub-region (referred to as Karamoja) of northeastern Uganda. For this purpose, Development Pathways was contracted to undertake a situation analysis to uncover the underlying causes of food, nutrition and income insecurity in Karamoja, and to generate ideas for innovative social policy solutions and provide recommendations.

The situation analysis demonstrates that development across Uganda is highly uneven. In several instances Karamoja scores worst when compared with other regions in terms of food security, poverty, education and healthcare indicators. The roots of Karamoja’s economic impoverishment can be traced back to the colonial period, when it was treated as a region of “exception” within the overall rule of the Ugandan State. This treatment resulted from a longstanding perception of transhumant pastoralism (the primary livelihood strategy of the Karamojong people) as “primitive”, “irrational” and “violent”. Over years, such treatment has relegated the region to the margins of the state formation process. As such, the inhabitants of Karamoja lack proper legal frameworks as well as benefits in terms of public goods and infrastructure, and legitimate political representation.