The Ugandan economy is going through a relatively stable period. The agricultural sector accounts for more than three quarters of the country’s employment and investments mainly benefit exports. Food for local and regional markets is produced by small farmers, often women. Because of the country’s erratic climate, nearly 80 percent of the population faces food shortages.
Farmers and nomadic pastoralists have to cope with uncertainties regarding property rights, and they suffer from frequent droughts and floods.This leads to conflicts about the use of land and water. Climate change poses a direct threat to food production, as well as to the income and health of farming communities. Neither the local government nor the farmers have the power to take the necessary preventive measures, or to cope with natural disasters.
However, progress has been made in the area of health these past years, though it has to be said that there is plenty of room for improvement. There are shortages of personnel and financial resources at all levels. For women, care is often out of their reach: too far away and too expensive. For the elderly, unemployment, chronic disease and a lack of social ties are the main causes of poverty. Other vulnerable groups include disabled people and those infected with HIV. The death rate among mothers and children is declining, but it’s still high.
Cordaid in Uganda
Cordaid is supporting activities that improve agriculture, healthcare and disaster management in several regions. The cooperation with the mostly Catholic and ecumenical organizations that focus on vulnerable and marginalized groups is key to this support. These organizations have carved out a strong position for themselves in the local society. Cordaid forms an important link between them and national and international networks.
Despite the fact that there are many banks and microfinance institutions (MFIs) in Uganda, affordable financial products remain out of the reach of small farmers. Among other things, Cordaid is striving for better cooperation between MFIs and small farmers and helping them to professionalize their businesses so they can boost productivity and thus bring their produce to the local markets. Cordaid is also working hard on increasing the resilience of all types of farmers to emergencies.
In addition to the government’s health policy, Cordaid is underscoring the health and welfare of various vulnerable groups in Uganda. These efforts pertain to a number of target groups. Displaced persons, for example, are being given psychosocial care, while disabled people and women are benefiting from better home care. Underlying measures that are being taken are highly diverse. They include the promotion of sexual and reproductive services among the people, as well as providing the relevant education. They also include the installation of data systems, the training of healthcare personnel and the installation of water purification plants. With concrete actions, Cordaid is enhancing the quality of life of mothers, children, the elderly, the sick and the disabled.