Better livelihoods for small farmers

The consequences of decades of civil war continue to mark the society as well as the social and economic infrastructure of northern Uganda. Regions such as Acholi and West Nile are among the poorest in the country. Malnutrition – above all among children – is widespread. Caritas Switzerland and its partner organisations strengthen smallholder families by training them in sustainable and efficient farming methods and transferring knowledge on operating in a market economy. They raise awareness about healthy nutrition and enable access to vitamin products and de-worming medication for particularly vulnerable people such as infants or pregnant women. 


Country / Region / Place
Uganda / Acholi and West Nile Regions

Target group
5,000 households (approx. 35,000 individuals)

Funding requirement
6,175,050 Swiss francs

Project duration
01.01.2020 to 31.07.2023

Project number

Project objective
This project, Action for Livelihood Enhancement in Northern Uganda (ALENU), contributes to the social, economic and ecologically sustainable production and marketing of the products of small farmers as well as to a healthy diet for their families. 



Background information

The consequences of decades of civil war, including between the Ugandan government and the  Lord‘s Resistance Army, continue to mark the society as well as the social and economic infrastructure in northern Uganda. A majority of the population spent the war years in camps for internally displaced people. As well as suffering violence and great deprivation, this experience led to the disintegration of social and family structures and the loss of knowledge and cultural values. 

Regions such as Acholi and West Nile have the highest poverty rates in the country. Malnutrition  – above all among children – is widespread, many people can only afford two (unbalanced) meals a day at most. Subsistence farming is the livelihood of most people, but  the productivity of the soil is insufficient. The reasons for this poor productivity are lack of knowledge, the impact of climate change, and overexploitation due to the rapidly growing population. Restrictions on access to local markets minimise the possibility of generating an income from any modest surpluses. Alternative employment opportunities are rare, and the capacity of the local government to provide social and economic support to the population is limited. The Ugandan government and the international donor community are trying to improve conditions in the former war zones by means of various reconstruction programmes.  One of these is the Development Initiative for Northern Uganda (DINU), which is also the framework for the present project.  

The situation is particularly difficult for children, young people and women. Many are poorly educated, suffer from the experiences and the struggle for survival during and after the war, from the lack of prospects and the many restrictions based on cultural norms, values and practices. The undernourishment or poor nutrition of children, due to general poverty and ignorance, has long-term effects on their physical and mental development, as well as on the potential of subsequent generations. Against the background of a past marked by violence and an uncertain political future, these conditions are fertile ground for future conflicts.

Caritas Switzerland has established a consortium with the local partner organisations Advance Afrika, Agency for Accelerated Regional Development (AFARD) and Gulu Women’s Economic Development and Globalization (GWED-G) in order to effectively pool their extensive local and international expertise and put it at the service of improved agricultural production, marketing and nutrition for the benefit of the poorest population groups in Acholi and West Nile.


What are we doing?

The aim of the present project is to strengthen 5,000 small farmers through the systematic transfer of sustainable and efficient agricultural cultivation methods and strategic knowledge of a market economy. This also includes the promotion of specific value chains - e.g. moringa, honey, peanuts or chickens -, and hence of products which, because of their high nutrient content and/or commercial potential in local and international markets, help to address the challenges facing the affected population. 

Other activities are designed to directly improve the nutritional status of the smallholder families, in particular infants, children, pregnant women and breastfeeding women who get access to vitamin products and de-worming medicines. Raising awareness in practice about the principles of a balanced diet, e.g. through the cultivation and consumption of vegetables, helps to prevent nutrition-related deficits in the long term.  In view of the overburdening of the economic, social and ecological resources due to the demographic trend, family members of reproductive age are also informed about the available means of family planning.  

Methodically, the project is based on findings from agroecology, the market system approach, as well as nutritional concepts such as Infant and Young Child Feeding or Community Based Management of Acute Malnutrition. It not only targets the affected population, but also the institutional capacities of the involved civil-society organisations  – Advance Afrika, AFARD, and Gwed-G – and the local governments in the benefitting districts, in order to ensure the long-term viability of the intervention. They benefit, among other things, from the technical know-how of internationally renowned actors from science and the private sector  – BFH-HAFL and africrops! –, who are directly involved in the project implementation. In close coordination with other implementation partners under the Development Initiative for Northern Uganda and the direction of the Ugandan Office of the Prime Minister, the project thus supports the consolidation of stability in northern Uganda, the reduction of poverty and undernourishment, and the strengthening of sustainable and inclusive socio-economic development. 


Your donation


This document has been produced with the financial assistance of the European Union. The contents of this document are the sole responsibility of Caritas Switzerland and can under no circumstances be regarded as reflecting the position of the European Union or the Government of Uganda.  

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