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Caritas Switzerland has been engaged in Uganda for over 20 years. During this time, the country underwent substantial transformation: After almost two decades, the war with the Lord Resistance Army ended. Subsequently, the majority of internally displaced people moved out of refugee camps and returned to their areas of origin. The necessary structures and institutions enabling a democratic system and a market economy are now in place. However, Uganda is still one of the world’s poorest countries. The dynamic economy and fast growing business centres are hiding the fact that the vast majority of the population is very young, poorly educated and unemployed. At the same time, government service delivery is compromised by a high degree of corruption and challenged by rapid demographic growth. Politics are contested, gender inequalities are pronounced, and natural resources disputed. In addition, the country is vulnerable to natural disasters and to the negative effects of climate change.
Caritas Switzerland’s Uganda Programme responds to some of the most pressing of these challenges. It aims at the socio-economic empowerment and integration of youth and other vulnerable people, so as to enable human development, cover basic needs, strengthen resilience and enhance equity in Uganda. In line with the principles of the Rights Based Approach, the programme works in the Fields of Activity of Food Security and Markets, and Education and Income. Geographically, the focus is on Uganda’s greater north, where poverty is most severe, but may expand to other regions of the country in the future, in view of the replication potential of most approaches.
Caritas Switzerland’s engagement is fully aligned with the national development priorities set by the Government of Uganda to transform the Ugandan society from a peasant to a modern and prosperous country by 2040.
Education and Income
The objective of the interventions in the field of education and income supported by Caritas Switzerland is to promote the socio-economic (re)integration of marginalised youth, in particular juvenile offenders and vulnerable girls including teenage mothers. The intention is to promote social justice, sustainable economic development, good governance and social stability. Key elements to realize this include: The development of entrepreneurship and life skills; the establishment of learning and mentoring mechanisms to support young people in the development and set-up of small businesses; access to education and vocational training; the provision of small amounts of capital to start micro-enterprises; income promotion for parents and care takers, awareness-raising, sensitization and advocacy. Implementation is managed by two local non-governmental organisations that work closely with the government, civil society as well as the academic and private sectors.
Food Security and Markets
The strengthening and/or revival of formal and informal management mechanisms in the area of tenure and property rights are crucial to address widespread land conflicts and associated food insecurity. Alongside access to land, food and income securing measures allow small-scale farmers and their families to earn a modest livelihood and get regular and balanced nutrition. Consequently, Caritas Switzerland is working with two local partner organisations to improve community capacities in the areas of land administration, the use of sustainable and climate-resistant agricultural production methods, as well as the production and marketing of agricultural products such as free-range chickens andeggs. Moringa, in addition to local markets, bears an equally high potential for global export as consumer demand namely in Europe and the Americas is increasing, driven by growing awareness of its nutritious benefits. Access to international markets will allow to further enhance smallholder farmers' resilience and adaptive capacity to address climate change related impacts.