How a Regional Pastoral project is changing the face of Karamoja
“When I was rearing only turkeys,I didn’t understand the concern about lack of grass for animals. These days,” Joel Ewatu admits, “I feel the drought. When a day goes by without grass for my animals,I panic with worry that they are going to die.” Ewatu’s fears are valid. More than 700 animals have died in Karamoja since December from the drought. A drive through Moroto, Napak, and Kotido reveals emaciated cattle, sheep, goats and donkeys in dry grasslands. Before the drought began in October 2018, Ewatu says he used to get 34 litres of milk a day but now struggles to make 10 litres. He is, however, hopeful he will overcome. “I hire warriors to get me the grass. Sometimes, I follow them to the mountains where they cut the grass from,” Ewatu shares. Such situations are the reason for the RPLRP which aims to enhance livelihood resilience of pastoral and agro-pastoral communities in cross-border droughtprone communities in Uganda, Kenya and Ethiopia, and improve the governments’ capacity to respond promptly and effectively to crises such as food insecurity,conflict, drought, and floods.
The project has embarked on skilling the pastoral communities with hay making skills and machines to harvest and stock pastures during the wet season which incase is in surplus can be sold for extra income in the dry seasons . The project is in the construction phase of the water reservoirs to help curb the effects of drought and to ensure that water is available throughout the dry spells.