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Reconstructing War Weary Northern Uganda

Todd Shapera | Uganda

A farm couple relaxing on a mattress in their hut. They told us a chilling tale of losing a child during the LRA insurgency, and being forced to live in a government camp. They said they new road outside their home meant easier access to the local market for selling her crops.

Northern Uganda enjoys relative peace after suffering decades of conflict spurred by Joseph Kony's Lord's Resistance Army. Nearly 1.4 million people were impacted by kidnapping, property destruction and killing.  With Kony run into the Congo jungle, refugees from bleak Displaced Person (IDP) camps began returning to their hamlets, and Kony's abducted child soldiers began trickling home.

In March 2012, I documented reconstruction through U.S. AID's $50 million rural infrastructure project, NUDEIL --  drilling wells and building schools and gravel roads. Implemented by Winrock International, NUDEIL collaborates with local governments, and emphasizes using local labor (rather than machinery), to provide impoverished farmers with needed cash.

Separately, Gulu Agricultural Development Company (GADC) was reviving local cotton farming as a regional cash crop for subsistence farmers. GADC founder, South African Bruce Robertson, retooled Gulu's war-damaged ginnery, and supports long-displaced farmers with training and a hungry ginnery. Last year, the third season, GADC purchased cotton from nearly 10,000 small farmers, and provided work to 300 Gulu ginnery employees.

Winrock International

Acumen Fund

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