Science et changements planétaires / Sécheresse


Pastoral population vulnerability in Ugandan Karamoja Volume 20, issue 3, juillet-août-septembre 2009


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Cirad ES Laboratoire de recherches vétérinaires et zootechniques BP 433 PO Box 433 N’Djamena Tchad, Cirad ES Campus international de Baillarguet 34398 Montpellier France

The Karamoja region in north east Uganda is a semi arid region inhabited by pastoral populations with strong traditional customs. Karamoja did not participate in the economical development of the country and now exhibits high poverty and illiteracy levels. Since the colonial period, Karamoja has systematically been marginalized by successive administrations who have had a negative view of pastoralism and sought to promote sedentary ranching by reducing access of pastoralists to rangelands. This restriction has contributed to increased competition for resources in contested zones between pastoral groups as well as increased intensity of raiding between them. Recent investigations that are presented in this paper describe agro-pastoral activities in Karamoja and confirm a level of poverty much lower than international standards. The lack of financial means of the households makes it impossible for them to participate in a market-oriented economy, leading to lower viability of their farms and higher vulnerability when faced with contingencies. This paper presents different ways to resist this situation which exposes Karamoja to environmental and sanitary hazards.