Food & Security, Livehood & Nutrition

 /  To raise awareness in addressing malnutrition in Uganda

Food & Security, Livehood & Nutrition Program

Adequate nutrition is an essential prerequisite for maintaining health status. The critical role nutrition plays in health and development warrants greater commitment to and investment in nutrition in Uganda. Moreover, such an investment is a necessary prerequisite for further progress on the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), particularly the hunger and health MDGs.

At least 2 million Ugandans are threatened with severe hunger and malnutrition following droughts across East Africa. According to the Aid Agency OXFAM, Uganda is among the worst affected by food shortages following severe and persistent droughts fuelled by rising food prices and the global financial crisis.Well-fed people create stable communities, perform better in school and take advantage of the opportunities to end extreme poverty. The world has more than enough food to feed everyone; it’s time to make sure everyone gets enough to thrive.

The overall goal of this Nutrition Program is to raise awareness in addressing malnutrition in Uganda and to focus attention on and advocate for greater resources from development partners to be committed to addressing this serious problem of malnutrition in Uganda.

Besides, the 21-year Conflict in Northern part of Uganda has created regional disparities, with poverty levels and malnutrition in the North almost doubles the national average in 2010. Focus on agricultural productivity which embraces household livelihood, food security and eradicating malnutrition among children, pregnant mothers and people living with HIV/AIDS is key to accelerating and sustaining this growth, because 70 percent of the Uganda’s labor force is involved in the agricultural sector, while only 20 percent of GDP is agriculture-related.

The overall goal of this Nutrition Program is to raise awareness in addressing malnutrition in Uganda and to focus attention on and advocate for greater resources from development partners to be committed to addressing this serious problem of malnutrition in Uganda.

Besides, the 21-year Conflict in Northern part of Uganda has created regional disparities, with poverty levels and malnutrition in the North almost doubles the national average in 2010. Focus on agricultural productivity which embraces household livelihood, food security and eradicating malnutrition among children, pregnant mothers and people living with HIV/AIDS is key to accelerating and sustaining this growth, because 70 percent of the Uganda’s labor force is involved in the agricultural sector, while only 20 percent of GDP is agriculture-related.

Despite sustained economic growth and poverty reduction, the proportion of the population that is food insecure increased from 19 percent in 1992 to 21 percent in 2007. Food and nutrition security remain the fundamental challenge to human welfare and economic growth, with almost 30 percent of households considered food insecure and chronic under nutrition in children a critical issue. One-third of children under five years old are stunted. Under nutrition is an underlying cause of 60 percent of deaths for children under five in Uganda. Micronutrient deficiencies, including in vitamin A and iron, are highly prevalent in women and children.

The underlying causes of malnutrition in Northern Uganda are inadequate water and sanitation safety and access, inadequate health infrastructure and access to healthcare, and food insecurity. Although access to health services has improved in the past decade, the quality of those services has remained questionable. Sanitation and hygiene have worsened in marginalized areas. Food insecurity varies regionally. The Northern region suffers from the highest levels of food insecurity, followed by parts of East and East Central regions and parts of Southwest Uganda. (Reference: Analysis of the Nutrition Situation in Uganda May 2010 by USAID). Common causes of food insecurity in Northern Uganda are the lack of diversification in livelihoods, dependence on agriculture and wage labor, declining wages and rising food prices.

Gender inequality is significantly intertwined with poverty and food insecurity in Northern Uganda and has been identified as a primary reason for the persistent poverty. Poverty is more gendered now because income inequality is rising and women fundamentally lack access to resources such as land and capital. Gender inequality also exacerbates food insecurity for women and children. While 80 percent of women contribute labor for food production, they own less than 8 percent of the land on which to farm.

Men earn significantly more than women and spend more of their income on non-food items, while women are left to close the food security gap. Women are the primary caregivers in families but have the least decision-making power; as a result, they lack control over their fertility, reproductive health and time. In Uganda, women’s lack of time and high fertility rates are two critical factors that undermine health and nutrition outcomes in their children. Uganda’s high rates of domestic violence and adolescent pregnancies attest to the fact that gender inequality is deeply rooted. Taking these factors together, gender inequality substantially undermines women’s capabilities in achieving and ensuring food security for their families.

It is thus, from this humble background, that Global Support Development Initiative Uganda, formerly Focus on Northern Uganda Development Initiative got born, to address the suffering of these vulnerable communities of Northern Uganda. GDI-Uganda is a registered grass-root and national organization, motivated to improve the standard of living of vulnerable communities of Northern Uganda and beyond in five (5) main thematic areas of; agricultural development, food security, nutrition and livelihood enhancement; education of disadvantaged; improve healthcare services; provide water and sanitation and carryout child protection services/ human rights activities respectively.

Today, we are involved in community child health Project with support from European Commission, Plan International and Vitamin Angels- California, USA.

GDI-Uganda has successfully achieved its major broad objectives as below:
  • 1. Improved household food security – through practicing sustainable organic agriculture has resulted into increased crop production, farmers are able to grow food throughout the year. The crop yields have increased as a result of the improved soil fertility. Farmers also use income from the sale of farm products to purchase a variety of food. Crops have been introduced in areas where they are not traditionally grown
  • 2. Improved nutrition - From the consumption of milk, eggs, meat, chicken, vegetables and other crops grown. Most families have moved from having one meal a day to three meals a day. The training in nutrition has created awareness on the importance of a balanced diet; enabling the farmers to plan their meals better than before. Farmers have used income from the sale of surplus farm products to purchase nutritious food such as fish and meat.
  • 3. Improved household income- household income of beneficiary households has slightly improved. Farmers have raised income from the sale of milk, crops and hiring of oxen for cultivation. The money has been invested in children’s education, paying for medical care and for purchasing basic household items. Some farmers have improved their housing and acquired other assets such as land, bicycles and motorcycles.

However, to reduce the burden of under nutrition in Northern Uganda through food production and distribution of therapeutic and supplementary foods to meet national and/or regional demand, an area that needs more intervention.

The specific objectives are:

Reduce poverty by enabling vulnerable households in Northern Uganda to achieve sustainable food and livelihood security through community-level action. This will be achieved through three intermediate results:

  • 1. Improved nutritional status, especially of women, children and people living with HIV/AIDS.
  • 2. Sustainable and equitable opportunities for improved livelihoods. This is done through providing livelihood empowerment of small-scale rural farmers and people living with HIV/AIDS.
  • 3. Inculcated culture of Village Savings and Loans Associations (VSLA) among farmers and communities as means of providing sustainability.

As part of its advocacy agenda, GDI-Uganda emphasizes the importance of skills development for productivity, linkage between supply and demand of labor and employment. The need for constant improvement of skills and labor productivity has been top on the GDI-Uganda’s institutional advocacy agenda for the last one year.

We believe that, when given an opportunity to partner with you, we will go an extra mile to deliver better food security, livelihood and nutritional services to our people of Northern Uganda extending beyond using multiplier effect.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Volunteer Opportunities

Looking for ways to serve at Global Support Development Initiative for longer periods of time? GDI hosts an internship session from mid-May to mid-August. This opportunity provides hands-on experience, cultural learning and friendship with the amazing people of Uganda.

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