The Karamoja Resilience Support Unit (KRSU) is an initiative of USAID/Uganda aimed at increasing resilience and economic development in Karamoja. The KRSU works closely with the Karamoja Development Partners Group to provide reviews, studies and analyses of development and humanitarian programs in Karamoja, and related policy issues. Our focus is on translating evidence and knowledge into practice, through collaborative approaches. The project is implemented by the Feinstein International Center, Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy, at Tufts University, with offices in Kampala and Moroto, Uganda.
What is working and why?
Which approaches need reshaping?
What can be scaled up, and where is the evidence to support this?
In mid-2020, the Karamoja Resilience Support Unit (KRSU) conducted a rapid assessment that described the impact of COVID-19 containment measures on rural livelihoods in Karamoja (Arasio et al. 20201). The assessment also forecast how disease restrictions would affect livelihoods over the following six to eight months (into early 2021). The initial assessment examined household wellbeing during COVID-19 relative to a normal (good) and bad (drought) year in Karamoja’s three main livelihood zones, represented by Amudat District (predominantly pastoralist but with some emerging crop production), Moroto District (predominantly agropastoralist), and Abim District (with high dependence on crop production, but also using livestock).
Child malnutrition and stunting have posed challenges to populations in East Africa and the Horn of Africa for several decades. However, rates have not only continued to increase during this time, but now have a broader impact: for many years, it was primarily youngsters in agrarian communities that bore the brunt of the impact. Today, the effects are being experienced by both adults and children in pastoralist communities, and are exacerbated by ongoing population growth.
Although extensive research has been conducted into pastoralism, the sector – from its actors and systems to economic and environmental impacts – remains largely misunderstood. This is exacerbated by the fact that those living and working in pastoral communities often have trouble effectively expressing the processes they engage in and the benefits of pastoralism.