The Karamoja cluster refers to the area of land that straddles the borders between Ethiopia, Kenya, South Sudan and Uganda. The region is inhabited by pastoralist communities from the Turkana and Pokot from Kenya, the Karamojong of Uganda, the Toposa from South-Sudan and the Daasanach and the Nyang’atom from south west Ethiopia. Most of the pastoralist communities classified under the cluster share the same socio-cultural as well as dialectic roots.
Pastoralism is the dominant socio-economic activity and source of livelihood for most of the population. The area is highly vulnerable to climatic variations such as drought that renders communities perennially food-insecure and limits their livelihood options. On the Ugandan side, these vulnerabilities were compounded, in part, by colonial land policies such as gazettement of fertile grazing land as wildlife conservation areas and forest reserves, accounting for 52.4% of the total land area. During the dry season, the pastoralists are compelled to migrate to other areas to access pasture and water points, often crossing national and international boundaries.
Climatic variations and related resource scarcities have led to frequent violent conflicts among the pastoralist communities, and often, with non-pastoral neighbors. These conflicts are exacerbated by ethnic rivalries, inadequate policing and influx of illicit arms from neighbouring countries. The insecurity further restricts access to resources, and hence, threatening the livelihoods of communities already vulnerable to drought.
The joint cross-border initiative will address governance and economic challenges that are critical to reduce the risks faced by, and vulnerability of the communities of Kenya (Turkana/West Pokot) and Uganda (Karamoja) cross-border region. As part of its overall agenda to support the global and regional commitments, UNDP will support the target communities in five interrelated priority areas on cross-border and regional cooperation, governance, peace and security (preventing conflictand sustaining peace); inclusive growth, environmental sustainability, climate change and resilience; women and youth empowerment to enhance resilience, economic opportunities and integration in the borderland areas of Turkana and West Pokot in Kenya and Karamoja of Uganda.
The intended outputs of this programme are:
a) Strengthened joint mechanisms for cross-border peacebuilding, community resilience and conflict prevention, management and resolution;
b) Strengthened evidence-based regional collaboration, cross-border cooperation and harmonization of policies and programmes for peace and security,
c) Enhanced investments and access to social services in the Karamoja cluster with a focus on children, youth and women; and,
d) Diversified livelihoods, improved community security, resilience to natural and man-made shocks, and enhanced use of shared natural resources.
The overall objective of the initiative is to promote human security in the Karamoja cluster by bridging the humanitarian, development and peace nexus for the realization of the SDGs.
The project contributes to: the Karamoja Integrated Development Assistance Framework III; the United Nations Development Assistance Framework (UNDAF) Strategic Priority 1, Transformational Governance, focused on Outcome 1.3: By 2022 People in Kenya live in a secure, peaceful, inclusive and cohesive society; Outcome 2 of the UNDP Kenya Country Programme Document; and the Big 4 Agenda. This is in line with the goal of SDG16 - to promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels.