Uganda has a population of 36 million - about 23% are pastoralists, comprising around one million people. A similar portion of the population is agro-pastoralists, for whom livestock traditionally contribute significantly to livelihoods and incomes. Ugandan pastoralists are almost exclusively cattle herders. Pastoralists occupy the semi-arid “Cattle Corridor” that sweeps across Uganda in an arc from the Rwanda and Tanzania borders in the Southwest to the eastern border with Kenya.
The four districts of Karamoja in the east are Uganda’s least developed. Although Uganda has experienced rapid development, with supportive government policies and important international development assistance since the 1990s, this has largely bye-passed Karamoja. In addition, the pastoralist communities of western Uganda have not benefited nearly as much as the agricultural communities amongst which they live.
In Uganda, as elsewhere, there has been a decline in mobility. Pastoralism is changing.
Uganda, with strong government backing, has an outstanding record in promoting gender equality, increasing women’s social status and participation in public life. But in the pastoralist communities, women’s subordination remains acute – and this is reflected in very low literacy rates, high maternal mortality rates, and low levels of economic and political participation.
Development agencies have only recently begun to address gender inequality and women’s position in pastoralist society, having traditionally focused on animal health, environmental issues and conflict. PENHA sees women’s empowerment as central to development in pastoral communities. We believe that cultures evolve gradually, leaving aside the bad and keeping the good. PENHA aims to promote social change, working with men and women, in a culturally sensitive way and without undermining the culture as a whole.
As a result of PENHA's work in Uganda and especially PENHA staff Elizabeth Katuchabe was named as the '100 Truly Amazing Women' of Worldwatch.
Uganda: Country profile
Population: 36 million
Agro-pastoralist population: 23%
Total Surface area: 236,000 Km2
Land occupied by Pastoralist:
Livestock population: 6.1 million cattle
PENHA in Uganda
PENHA-Uganda has a local board in Uganda, chaired by the Hope Mwesigye, formerly the Minister of Agriculture, Animal Industries and Fisheries. Before this, Hope was a leading civil society activist and the Director of the Uganda Gender Resource Centre. A number of other prominent Ugandans also sit on the board.
PENHA-Uganda has an office in Kampala with a staff of two, complemented by longstanding associates, who provide expertise in specific areas. It also maintains a goat breeding centre at Nkoma Farm (see below), near the town of Mbirizi in Central Uganda.
PENHA-Uganda has been an active participant in a number of Ugandan non-governmental organization (NGO) networks, including COPACSO (the Coalition of Pastoral Civil Society Organizations). PENHA-Uganda works with local, national and international NGOs as well as with intergovernmental organizations, such as the Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO). The Natural Resources Institute (NRI) of the University of Greenwich in the UK has been an important partner in a number of research and training initiatives.