Over the past few months, Katakwi and nearby Districts have suffered some key natural disasters. The floods at the turn of the year affected at least 2775 people in Katakwi and surrounding areas. ActionAid sought to work with survivors to not only meet their immediate needs, but also support them to adopt resilient livelihoods in the face of the possible persistent floods over the coming years.
Ms. Amoding Drophine, a 24year old from Ongongoja sub-county was one of those greatly affected by the floods, which coincided with the Karamojong cattle raids. Following the catastrophes, Drophines fled for safety, abandoning all her crops which were then destroyed by the floods and the Karamojong during the raids. At the time, access to health facilities was difficult since the roads were destroyed and cut off. Her and her children suffered near starvation and malnutrition resulting from food shortage.
The situation worsened with the COVID-19 pandemic and lock-down restrictions imposed by Government in March,2020. The single mother along with her seven (7) children were among the beneficiaries of the food distribution. The family was given 20kgs of maize flour and 20kgs of Beans which saved her and the children at that critical time, lasting them at least three (3) weeks.
Ms Amoding Drophine benefited, first through relief food and later, training from ActionAid on community resilience to climate change and resilient livelihoods. Consequently, Amoding managed to start tomato growing amidst several challenges. Once trained, she embraced the new livelihood and put her efforts into a one-acre garden of organic tomatoes, which is what she now relies on to earn income. “In a day, I earn UGX. 5000 which enables me to meet the cost on basic needs like food, Clothing, and Medicare for me and my seven children’ she says with a smile.
“I love being in the garden. I can be there all day, talking to my plants. I love introducing myself as a farmer. Not only am I earning income but have also devoted my time to transfer the skills and knowledge I have acquired from ActionAid to other farmers within my community. When they come and visit my farm, I train them on how to grow tomatoes.” she laughs.
Even with the strides made, Amoding notes several challenges that small holder farmers in her community face; “Not all women have land,” she said. “And even those who want to rent, find it difficult to get money.” The cost of transport is too high due to the narrow marram roads that are often impassable during the wet seasons.
“I thank ActionAid for the food and the farming skills they helped to impart in me. This is now my weapon to end poverty in my household.” She said with a glimmer of hope.