We work in areas in developing countries in Africa where we can really make the difference. These are often remote and marginalized areas, where literacy rates are low and few children have the opportunity to complete their education, due to financial, geographical or cultural barriers.
We usually work in areas where the presence of development partners focused on children is low. In 2020, we focus on three areas within the Karamoja region in Northeast Uganda. In 2021, we plan to establish connections with other potential partners in other areas and countries. We shall consider a variety of options, such as the Central African republic, DR Congo, Zimbabwe, Northern Ethiopia and South-Sudan.
Karamoja is a remote and marginalized area in Northeast Uganda, bordering South-Sudan and Kenya. Karamoja was characterized by cattle-theft and violent conflicts between tribes for many decades. The government disarmament in 2009 resulted in relative peace and security, creating some space for the local communities to develop.
Karamoja is largely inhabited by nomad tribes. Its population attaches great social, cultural and economic value to cattle. The local communities depend on their livestock and small scale agriculture in the rainy season for survival. Persistent droughts affect crop production and livestock, resulting in rising poverty levels, hopelessness and alcoholism. Karamoja was classified in 2016 as one of the world’s poorest areas. 61% of the 1.2 million inhabitants live in absolute poverty. It’s remote location, violent past and traditional nomad culture have resulted in low development rates.
Only 5% of the adult population can read and write and only one out of every four children attends primary education. With 17%, continuation to secondary education is even lower, especially among girls.
Women in Karamoja give birth to an average of eight children, three times as many as in capital city Kampala. Chronic poverty and large family-size have negative consequences for the development, health and education of Karamoja children. Parents often lack the financial means to support (all) their children to access schools. Or they refuse to pay for their children’s education, due to cultural norms and values. Boys in pastoral tribes are traditionally responsible for cattle keeping and girls are married off at a young age in exchange for a good dowry. It is extremely difficult for children living with HIV or a disability to build a better future, due to stigma’s in the local communities.
As a result, 86% of the young population in Karamoja have never been to school and are either not working or in a vulnerable employment. This is extraordinarily high, compared to 5% in Kampala. The current situation increases the likelihood of idle youth to get involved in crime, mental health problems, violence, conflicts and drug abuse. The majority of the population in Karamoja is poor due to a lack of employable skills.
With poor education, the Karamoja region loses opportunities for girls and young people to delay child bearing, get skilled and in position to contribute to the regions and national development. Low education levels result in an influx of skilled work force and economic activities from outside of the region. We believe this offers plenty opportunities to make a tangible difference.