German agency launches water project to combat drought in Karamoja

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MOROTO | A German development agency has delivered a water project that officials say will help alleviate the impact of severe deforestation caused by drought and climate change.

Welthunger Hilfe, on Tuesday, February 20, commissioned the Lokere Water Catchment Project in collaboration with the Ministry of Water and Environment.

The project, funded by the German federal ministry of cooperation and development (BMZ), seeks to address the challenges of crop failure and food insecurity through various interventions.

In response to the severe devastation caused by drought and adverse climate change in the Karamoja sub-region, Welthunger Hilfe, in collaboration with the Ministry of Water and Environment (MWE), on 20th February 2024 commissioned the Lokere Water Catchment Project in Tapac Subcounty, Moroto.

“Before the water scheme, our community faced immense challenges due to the scarcity of clean water. We had six villages relying on a single water source, which often resulted in long waits and insufficient water supply,” Adupa Stephanie, one of the beneficiaries, recounted.

The project implements a range of strategies including piped water schemes, soil erosion protection measures, valley tank constructions, and tree-growing initiatives.

During a visit to Karamoja, a representative from the German Government, Hanno Spitzer, emphasized the importance of tree planting in combating the devastating effects of drought.

Spitzer expressed the urgent need for concerted efforts to promote tree planting initiatives across region.

Recognising the region’s vulnerability to climate-related hazards, he stressed the importance of proactive measures to enhance environmental sustainability and resilience.

“If trees are not planted and nurtured, the delicate balance of the ecosystem will not be replenished,” he said.

In Karamoja, prolonged drought is worsened by the widespread cutting of trees for charcoal production. As part of the project, tree planting activities are currently ongoing in Lotome and Tapac subcounties, with the aim of replenishing the region’s depleted tree cover

Betty Nakiru, the project manager for Welthunger Hilfe, says thousands of trees have been successfully planted through the initiative

“In phase one of the project, trees were cultivated in 21 designated sites, while phase two has seen an expansion to eight additional sites, demonstrating a commitment to scaling up tree planting efforts,” Nakiru said.

In addition to tree planting, schools in Lotome are now engaged in growing vegetables to enrich school meals and promote food security among students.

“This diversification of school meals is a positive step towards addressing nutritional needs within our school and the community,” Margret Abura, headteacher of Lotome Girls School, said

Local leaders have expressed their support and satisfaction with the Lokere Water Catchment Project, emphasizing its potential to bring about positive social change in the region.

Meri Jino, chairman of Kaabong District, commended the ongoing tree planting project in the region, emphasizing its timeliness in addressing critical issues such as drought and environmental degradation

“The school gardens too play a vital role in promoting nutrition and ensuring children have access to a balanced diet,” Jino said.

George William Wopuwa, the Moroto resident district commissioner (RDC), pledged government support for the Lokere Water Catchment Project, emphasising its relevance to the region and its significance in promoting sustainable development.

Speaking on behalf of the government, Wopuwa lauded the project for its focus on improving the well-being of local communities in Karamoja.

“The project addresses pressing issues such as water scarcity, environmental degradation, and food insecurity,” said Wopuwa.

As the project progresses, it is hoped that the Lokere Water Catchment Project will serve as a catalyst for sustainable development and resilience-building in Karamoja, paving the way for a brighter and more secure future for its residents.

 

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