Uganda is a landlocked country in East Africa and is known as the ‘Pearl of Africa’ because of its rich biodiversity, natural beauty and resources.
The Lord’s Resistance Army led by Joseph Kony, terrorised much of Northern Uganda with conflict for nearly thirty years killing more than 100,000 people, abducting up to 100,000 children and displacing 2.5 million people across East and Central Africa. As peace began to return to the country in 2012, hundreds of thousands of families who had been moved into government-run internal displacement camps, began to return home. Much generational knowledge of agricultural practice had been lost and so many of our programmes in NE Uganda have revolved around the need for improved food security. High population growth has also stressed water and sanitation services and has led to extremely high percentages of the population who do not have access to clean water or improved sanitation facilities.
What is the current state of the country?
Global Food Security Index Score
Considers the core issues of affordability, availability and quality across 113 countries, where 1 is the top scoring country. 83/113
Percentage of people who lack access to safe drinking water
Percentage of people who do not have access to improved sanitation, such as toilets or latrines
Prevalence of undernourishment
Number of primary aged children out of school
Approx. 296,800 males, 180,700 females
Signpost started work in Uganda in the early 1990s and began working with our partner organisation Voluntary Action for Development (VAD) in 2010, expanding our WASH (water, sanitation and hygiene) and food security projects. Since 2013 we have enabled over 5,000 people increase their food security from 6 months of the year to 12 months, with surplus to sell ! We have also set up school food gardens, where the pupils are taught farming practices and the produce grown provides a daily meal for each child.
Through setting up and training farmer groups, we have facilitated the formation of three agricultural cooperatives in NE Uganda. These cooperatives enable farmers to register as businesses, gain access to markets, bulk sell their crops and realise the best possible return for their crops. We have also facilitated the setup of one SACCO (savings and credit community organisation) comprising mainly of youth entrepreneurs. This encourages cooperation between farmers and enables entrepreneurs to take out micro loans to expand their businesses.
Importantly, we have also focused on schools, many of which do not have access to clean water or improved sanitation facilities for their pupils or teachers. Our WASH projects have enabled thousands of children to attend school healthily, without risk of infection, sickness and dehydration.