Adapting agricultural cultivation methods of the Karimojong to climate change in the Karamoja sub-region

Project description

Title: Adapting agricultural cultivation methods of the Karimojong to climate change in the Karamoja sub-region (development-oriented emergency and transitional aid)
Commissioned by: German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)
Country: Uganda
Lead executing agency: Office of the Prime Minister of Uganda
Overall term: 2011 to 2016


Climatic conditions in the semi-arid region of Karamoja in north-eastern Uganda are unpredictable. After more than 20 years of internal conflict, the region has now become more peaceful and people have taken up different activities to earn their livelihoods. Many of the traditionally nomadic Karimojong, who lost their cattle due to the disruption of their pastoral lifestyle, have now established themselves as subsistence farmers. However, they lack many of the skills, knowledge and assets needed for farming, and they also face the negative impacts of climate change. The region is affected by severe droughts and flooding. This threatens the food security of the population, which is now more dependent on arable farming.


The livelihoods of the affected population, which are threatened by the negative impacts of climate change, have improved due to the establishment of community-based disaster preparedness, adapted agricultural methods and measures supporting sustainable resource management.


The climate change adaptation project complements GIZ’s ongoing cooperation with the Office of the Prime Minister of Uganda, which started in 2009 with the ‘Food and Nutrition Security and Conflict Management’ project (2009-2012). The aim of both projects is the stabilisation of Karimojong livelihoods.

The project provides support to the people of the project zone and to local governments of the four southern districts of Karamoja, in the following areas:

  • strengthening local disaster prevention capacities
  • sustainable management of natural resources
  • water for agricultural production
  • agro-pastoral production.

The project builds on the experiences gained from the food security project, and benefits from the acceptance already established through this among the target groups. It pursues a participatory approach and systematically involves not only the political partners, but also the target groups in all planning and implementation steps. Community-based disaster prevention approaches serve as a framework for implementing the project activities, while self-help structures are established and promoted. In addition, the project activities provide the population with the capacity to adapt agricultural production methods to climatic conditions. Through sensitisation measures and the supervision of local government and communities, the project promotes the careful use of natural resources. Environmentally friendly, locally available and adaptable methods are introduced and disseminated through training, extension work and demonstration plots. Two learning centres for climate change adaptation support innovation and knowledge transfer in climate change adaptation at the grassroots level.

Results achieved so far

The project promotes behavioural change and supports various groups in pursuing environmentally friendly activities for income generation and saving schemes. So far these have included the introduction of energy-efficient stoves, the use of interlocking soil-stabilised blocks for house building, vegetable gardening, animal traction and agro-forestry methods. The next step focuses on introducing improved and drought-resistant planting material and seeds, which are recommended by national research centres.

Since September 2013, in order to roll out the adapted technologies at the local level, the project has established two climate change adaptation learning centres as hubs for innovation and technology transfer. Learning takes place in community-based structures consisting of farmer field schools, junior farmer field schools, settlement disaster management committees and village savings and loans associations, as well as through a farmer-to-farmer approach.

More recently, the project has begun a tree-planting campaign in and around the local settlements known as manyattas. It has also established junior farmer field schools attached to a number of schools and has focused activities on producer groups, applying the farmer-to-farmer approach. As part of these activities it has also begun to sensitise communities and opinion leaders about the extremely destructive tradition of bushfires.