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Uganda: Sustainable-livelihood projects to benefit 40,000 in the north

11-04-2008 News Release 08/44

Kampala (ICRC) – The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) is launching sustainable-livelihood projects that will benefit up to 40,000 internally displaced people and returnees in their home areas in northern Uganda.

Its economic-security activities for war-affected people in Acholi districts are being adapted to fit evolving needs. Also, the ICRC’s new cash-for-work and income-generating schemes will complement its large-scale seed distribution programmes, which came to an end in March 2008.

Households participating in the cash-for-work scheme will carry out projects chosen by their own communities, such as opening up land for cultivation and restoring infrastructure. On the completion of a project, participants will be paid in cash, at local rates. When people return home, they face a number of important challenges: for instance, limited income-earning opportunities and having to prepare land that has lain fallow for many years (as well as the competing claims of other essential tasks). " The cash will increase household income and help families to concentrate on important matters such as cultivating agricultural land,'' said Janet Angelei, the ICRC’s economic-security coordinator in Kampala. The sustainable-livelihood projects will also benefit the most vulnerable households – such as those headed by children, the elderly and the physically disabled – since the participants will be opening up land for them. 

The cash-for-work projects will complement an income-generating scheme for vulnerable families. Groups of households will be provided with, for instance, irrigation pumps, brick presses and oil presses to enable them to increase their income. ”To ensure the sustainability of the scheme, the ICRC has procured simple, manually operated devices. This will eliminate expenses associated with fuel and costly spare parts,'' explained Fabien Pouille, the ICRC’s regional agronomist on mission in Kampala.

As a result of the Juba peace process, which got under way in July 2006 with the opening of peace talks between the parties at conflict, the humanitarian situation in northern Uganda has been improving steadily. An ever-increasing number of internally displaced people are returning to their home areas in northern Uganda and access to arable land continues to widen.

The ICRC, through its various water, sanitation and health programmes, is striving to improve living conditions for over 500,000 people - the internally displaced in their camps and returnees in their home areas in Acholi districts.

For further information, please contact:
  Pascal Jequier, ICRC Kampala, tel +256 414 341 605/6
  Marçal Izard, ICRC Geneva, tel +41 79 217 3224