Uganda is set amongst the great lakes and rivers in the Nile basin but we are not immune to the impact of the climate crisis. Average temperatures have increased by 1.3°C since the 1960s, rainfall is unpredictable and droughts are increasing.
Sixty-nine percent of Ugandans depend on subsistence farming on fragments of land, and population pressure drives environmental degradation, national forest cover has halved in the decade to 2018, and is now just 9.5%. But our greatest tests may also provide our greatest hopes.
The challenges and opportunities for Ripple Effect Uganda
1. 78% of our population are under 30
We are a young country. Our 31.2 million children and young people can provide labour and future demand to drive our economy, and we have been described as one of the most entrepreneurial countries in the world. But our population bulge also presents us with a growing problem, with youth unemployment of more than 13%, and the lack of jobs creating the potential for dissatisfaction.
To encourage young people to stay in rural communities they must have opportunities to flourish there. Ripple Effect Uganda works to build entrepreneurial outlooks and increase agri-business skills so that young people can be creative and adventurous, and generate income for themselves.
2. Uganda hosts the largest refugee population in Africa (the third-largest in the world)
For decades Uganda has responded to conflicts in surrounding countries with a progressive and welcoming refugee policy that is applauded internationally. From January-May 2022 alone we received over 35,000 new arrivals fleeing war and persecution in South Sudan and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, bringing our total number of displaced people to 1.5 million. In some districts refugees outnumber the host population. It costs approximately US$2 billion every year to support these communities, and there is a danger that our country’s resources may be overwhelmed.
But refugees are highly motivated to build better lives for themselves and our project in Kyegegwa and Isingiro, Western Uganda, builds sustainable livelihoods based on the land grants made to refugees in these districts.
3. Women contribute 80% of the agricultural labour force
In common with other countries where Ripple Effect works, the overwhelming majority of farmers in Uganda are women. But although they provide the food for their households and are the backbone of our rural economy, only 7% of women own the land they work on, and women receive only 20% from what they produce.
There are enormous opportunities for Uganda’s GDP if these hardworking women gain control of these key production resources and have access to markets where they can earn income. All of our projects in Uganda focus on women farmers as an entry point to participating households.
The impact of Ripple Effect Uganda
Household income increased from $0.24 per day to $3.58 in our project in Amuru
30,000 trees planted in our Living with Wildlife project
93% experienced less than 2 hunger months a year after our project in Amuru
*Project reports compiled before July 2022 refer to our organisation’s previous name Send a Cow Uganda.
Where we are working
In Eastern Uganda, farmers are facing unpredictable rainfall caused by the climate crisis and increasing soil erosion from tree clearance. Sugarcane mono-cropping is contributing to low agricultural productivity, with many families locked into unprofitable contracts with exploitative companies. Ripple Effect is working with over 20,000 vulnerable people, supporting the establishment of backyard gardens that will allow farmers to produce vegetables all year round and grow a wider range of food crops.
Families living around Uganda’s largest National Park are struggling to live: food is scarce and there a few opportunities for earning an income. In partnership with wildlife charity Tusk, this project is training local communities in new ways of supporting themselves while protecting their local wildlife and habitats.
The stemborer moth and the fall armyworm can destroy maize harvests in Kyotera in Central Uganda and in other districts. Push-Pull is a simple but powerful innovation where maize is intercropped with desmodium, which produces a scent that repels the moths (the Push effect). Field borders are planted with napier or brachiaria grass which the moths are attracted to as a place to lay their larvae, but the larvae are unable to survive on the leaves (the Pull effect). Ripple Effect is working with 400 farming families across the district to roll out this pest management method.
The communities of Kyegegwa and Isingiro are hosting refugees from the Democratic Republic of Congo, Rwanda, Somalia, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Djibouti, and Burundi, and are struggling with low household incomes and food insecurity. This project in partnership with the World Food Programme uses demand-driven inclusive agro-enterprise to build the marketing system, creating a pull for increased production and also improving post-harvest handling and management by farmers and their cooperatives, to improve food safety, security and nutrition.
Our government’s national targets
Uganda’s National Development Plan (NDPIII 2020), goal is “Increased household incomes and improved quality of life.” Key results to be achieved by 2025 are:
- Poverty rates reduced from 21.4% to 14.2%
- Income inequality reduced from 0.41 to 0.38
- Agricultural sector to grow from 3.8% to 5.1%
- Youth unemployment reduced from 13.3% to 6.6%
- Households dependent on subsistence agriculture reduced from 68.9% to 55%;
How Ripple Effect Uganda’s strategy addresses these targets
- We will increase market access for farmers, promote community social enterprises and encourage knowledge-sharing to develop farmer skills.
- We are prioritising good management of natural resources to support communities in regenerating and protecting their local environment.
- To engage our young population, we are focusing on access to business opportunities and supporting the growth of farming as a viable and attractive business
- We prioritise working with women (50% of Uganda’s population), young people, orphans and vulnerable children (80% of Uganda’s population) and refugees (1.5 million).
- We are focusing on the sub regions identified by the National Development Plan as having high poverty rates and land available for agricultural production: West Nile, Acholi, Lango, Bugisu, Bukedi, Busoga, Teso, southwestern, mid-western and Central
World Food Programme
Project: Kyegegwa and Isingiro Inclusive Livelihoods and Enterprise Development
Sustain for Life
Projects: Kumuli Sustainable Livelihoods 2016-18, Amuru Disability Mainstreaming (ADIMAP) 2018-21
We are also exploring opportunities for us to partner with the Uganda government as sub-contractors.
Talk to us
Pamela EbanyatCountry Director
Please speak to me about opportunities for collaboration on programme delivery and partnership, and any media queries.
Roselyn Akiiki EmunaProgramme & Partnership Support Manager
Please speak to me about programme delivery and partnership opportunities.
Alex BagoraProgramme Funding Manager
If you might be interested in funding our work in Uganda speak to me about opportunities.
Kenneth OkumuFinance Manager
Contact me if you have any supplier questions.