Current Programmes and Projects


Project site - The Karamajong Cluster

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The Karamoja Cluster refers to an area of land that straddles the borders between South-western Ethiopia, North-western Kenya, Southeastern Sudan and North-eastern Uganda. The area is populated by 14 pastoralist tribes who share a common culture and way of life. The cluster is composed of semi-arid savanna grading into wooded grassland to the north and desert to the south. Rainfall is generally unpredictable and localized, making agriculture an unreliable subsistence strategy. To survive in this habitat, pastoralists have evolved management strategies that are finely tuned to the realities of their environment.

 The Karamajong Cluster© 2010 AU-IBAR. The Karamajong Cluster

This semi-arid area is used primarily for transhumant cattle pastoralism on which inhabitants rely almost entirely. Drought and animal disease outbreaks are common and frequently whole herds can be wiped out resulting in significant food insecurity. Livestock raids by neighboring groups within the Cluster, historically limited to a 'light violence' activity by youth and controlled by elders, have, escalated since the 1970s into frequent heavy violence. Major causes include the prevalence of modern light weapons, neighbouring wars and insurgencies, the influx of refugees, international border problems, the creation of national parks, the spread of crop cultivation, and food security problems. The proliferations of modern weapons along with changes in traditional rules of engagement have transformed an adaptive practice into a maladaptive and ongoing conflict. Consequently, poverty and famine have increased in the area, and vast tracts of grazing land and water sources are placed out of reach of herders leading to destitution of many pastoralist families. The main types of conflict in the Karamajong Cluster include among others, conflict over grazing resources as pastoralists enter protected areas (e.g. Kidepo National Park in Uganda, Southern Turkana National Game Reserve, Nasolot Game Reserve) and conflicts with settled farmers (e.g. Pokot and Luhyia in Western Kenya).