Amudat district leaders have refused money intended for journalists and fish farmers, stating that the projects for these two Savings and Credit Cooperative Organizations (Saccos) were not practical.
According to Mr. Joseph Nangole Lobot, Amudat District Chairperson, “The Saccos for journalists and fish farmers are not functional. In Amudat, we don’t have anyone who has studied journalism. Another non-operational Sacco is for fish farmers because we lack water.”
He continued, “We have been urging the government to build water ponds, valley tanks, and dams so that we can have water for our livestock. How can we engage in aquaculture without water? The people of Amudat do not require a Sacco for fish farming, which is why no one has applied for this money.”
Mr. Lobot stressed the importance of involving communities in the selection of development projects to prevent the wastage of resources.
These remarks were made during a three-day workshop on sustainable pathways to food security and economic growth in Karamoja, taking place at Speke Resort Munyonyo and concluding on September 14.
Through the Emyooga program, the government allocated millions of shillings to each of the 18 Saccos in Amudat District, but residents declined funds for two Saccos due to inadequate project selection.
Mr. Lobot revealed that this money has remained unused in the accounts since 2021.
Each Sacco received Shs30m, with political leaders’ Saccos receiving Shs50m each. It has been challenging for people to sustain aquaculture in a water-scarce region like Karamoja.
Mr. Lobot emphasized that government and partners must involve the local community in project design through participatory rural appraisal to ensure project viability and sustainability.
Emyooga is a Presidential Initiative for wealth and job creation with the goal of transitioning households from subsistence to a money-based economy.
During his keynote address, USAID Uganda Mission Director Mr. Richard Nelson highlighted the importance of identifying concrete steps for the government and partners to collaborate with the people of Karamoja in supporting their aspirations, hope, and journey towards a more prosperous and resilient future. This includes investing in climate-smart livelihood opportunities, improving access to markets and services, managing natural resources, securing water sources, ensuring good governance, and implementing early warning and shock response mechanisms.