Food insecurity and its effects on the livelihoods of people in conflict areas, a case of internally displaced persons in Katakwi District, Uganda
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Katakwi district is located in North Eastern Uganda – Teso sub-region and is made up of three (3) sub-counties and 18 parishes. Since 1979, over 88,000 people have been displaced within the district of Katakwi due to cattle rustling and rebels resulting in loss of life, destruction of home and property and confiscating of crops. The rationale for attempting this research was to identify gaps that IDPs are experiencing due to food insecurity, resulting in disruption of their main sources of livelihood. The study aimed at examining the means of acquiring food and other basic needs, by IDPs, Gender roles in food processes and vulnerability / risks faced by IDPs in their quest for survival. A cross sectional survey of various households of IDP camps was selected in Katakwi. Both quantitative and qualitative methods for data collection were used. This included the use of structured interview questionnaires to obtain information from IDPs, key informant interviews and focus group discussions were conducted to get in-dept information from IDPs. The study found that IDPs survive with a lot of difficulty and the living conditions are pathetic. Food shortages combined with one poor meal a day was a very big problem to most families evidenced by malnourished children and some adults. Medical care was poor with inadequate drugs and water and sanitation facilities are inadequate. The study also found out that security was still a big problem. In their quest for survival, IDPs developed livelihoods strategies / coping mechanisms which included casual labour, brewing of alcohol, wild food collection, trade, etc. The IDPs also face various problems, which render them vulnerable to their lives and livelihoods. The study recommends beefing up of security to foster the resettlement of IDPs back to their villages, disarming Karamojongs would ensure security and peace in Katakwi district and other areas bordering Karamoja region. Government should focus on poverty stricken areas and introduce income generating activities, provision of finances, loans for various categories of vulnerable people. Government and NGOs should provide farming tools and new varieties of seeds for planting, and lastly the IDP policy should be implemented fully by the concerned stakeholders.