Irish Aid has committed critical funding to enable the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) to assist nearly 150,000 school children in Karamoja and over 1 million refugees in 13 refugee settlements across the country.
The Ambassador of Ireland, H.E William Carlos, committed €1.6 million for the WFP school feeding programme in Karamoja sub-region and another €2 million for the refugees in a Memorandum of Understanding signed with WFP’s Country Director, El-Khidir Daloum in Kampala.
Uganda continues to host the largest number of refugees in Africa. The refugees are heavily reliant on aid to survive so UN agencies such as WFP as well as partner NGOs play a critical role in supporting the initial resettlement of newly arrived refugees as well as meeting basic food and nutrition needs.
Karamoja is by far still the poorest part of Uganda with poor access to basic social services, as well as suffering from chronic food and nutrition insecurity that need to be addressed.
Ambassador William said, “Ireland has a strong tradition of generously responding to people in need. It is therefore important to maintain WFP’s food assistance in the refugee settlements and in Karamoja to reduce the risk of food insecurity and malnutrition. The Embassy of Ireland is pleased to respond to this cause and highly values this partnership with WFP.”
WFP Representative, Daloum said, “This contribution will not only support WFP to provide a safety net for schoolchildren in Karamoja, but it will also provide opportunities for smallholder farmers by creating a stable, structured market for local produce by linking local agriculture and school feeding. Resulting in a more sustainable programme with stronger rural communities, more stable economies, increased demand for local, fresh food and healthier, happier children.”
Child malnutrition remains high in Karamoja region. The most recent estimate of child wasting for children 6-59 months of age in the region is 10.4% (FSNA Jan 2018); which is more than four times the expected level in a well-nourished population.
This rate is much higher than the national average of 3.5% (UDHS 2016) and is considered “high” according to the World Health Organization’s criteria. School feeding also plays a critical role in improving education access and retention of pupils in the sub-region.
As Ireland celebrates its 25th year in Uganda this year, it takes great pride in its work in Karamoja, its contribution to education as well as its support to the refugee community. Ireland looks forward to continuing to work together with partners in Government, the UN and civil society over the coming period.
The United Nations World Food Programme – saving lives in emergencies and changing lives for millions through sustainable development. WFP works in more than 80 countries around the world, feeding people caught in conflict and disasters, and laying the foundations for a better future.