Uganda – a landlocked country in the north of Lake Victoria – has a population of about 32 million and is considered a „Least Developed Country – LDC“ by the United Nations. On a country-wide average, 40 Percent of the population live below the poverty-line of one US-Dollar and in the northern regions of Uganda it is even 70 Percent. The GDP per capita reached 450 US$ in 2011 and is therefore around a hundred times smaller than the German GDP (GDP per capita 2011 in Germany: 44.550 US$).
The problem of un- and underemployment remains one of the major challenges in Uganda, as the unemployment rate among young people is at around 80 Percent. The Karamoja region in the northeast of Uganda is one of the poorest regions of the country. Approximately 1.3 Million people – the Karamojong – are living a semi nomadic lifestyle in an extremly dry area, which covers about two-thirds of the area of Switzerland (27.000km2). Sad realities of the region are a high infant mortality rate, malnourishment, illiteracy and absolute poverty. In schools, the youths do not learn what they need to find employment. Therefore, it is almost impossible for them to identify new income generation opportunities. However, this would be of high urgency, because the traditional way of livestock breeding becomes more and more difficult.
In the Karamoja-districts of Abim, Nakapiripirit and Moroto, the project teaches young men and women what they need in order to find an employment or to generate new income opportunities.
Swisscontact and its local partners developed an educational model, which corresponds to the needs and possibilities of the region and which focuses on practice-oriented courses: from better agricultural skills to professional knowledge, which are sought after on the local labour market.
An example for an agricultural advanced training is a course in producing hay as animal food, a procedure, which had not been known so far. Grass is abundantly growing during the rainy season and is becoming more and more rare during the dry season.
Other project participants learn to construct simple irrigation systems and to cultivate alternative kinds of vegetables. Thereby, they improve the nourishment of their families and are – at best – able to sell the surpluses on the local markets.
In Karamoja, there are no vocational schools yet, which offer vocational trainings or knowledge for small-scale enterprises which is necessary to tackle the economic challenges of the region. Swisscontact supports local stakeholders to be able to offer these courses. By 2012, 600 young Karamojong (half of them women) have benefited from the new vocational trainings. Their first steps towards a sustainable income are the beginning of a better future for Karamoja.
2009 – 2012