Trust for Africa's Orphans

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Mar 01 2008

Big lottery cash for Uganda’s displaced families

Thousands of people who fled from their homes because of conflict in northern Uganda will benefit from a Big Lottery award to the Trust for Africa’s Orphans. The money will be used to enable them to access legal help in securing their former homes and land rights and train them in sustainable farming.

Now the Lords Resistance Army’s activities in the north of Uganda have ceased, it is safe for families to return from the displaced people camps. Many of them lived in those camps for 20 years and their children were born there.

“We found that many of those returning – especially widows whose husbands had died either in the conflict or from AIDS – had lost their homes and land to squatters while they were away”, says Joy Mugisha, TAO’s Programme Coordinator. “They are so poor they need help to get them back on their feet.”

TAO will help dispossessed people and others secure tenure and then train them in sustainable smallholding agriculture including the use of oxen for cultivation, beekeeping, planting trees for reforestation, raising crops for food and cash, and livestock. This intervention will not only provide them with food but give them income from the sale of surplus produce. Over and above direct beneficiaries the project will reach another 45,000 living in the area through awareness campaigns.

The project will be implemented in collaboration with UWESO (Uganda Women’s Effort to Save Orphans) and FIDA (Uganda Women’s Lawyers Association) with whom the Trust has previously successfully worked on sustainable farming projects in Uganda.

“We understand the basic African spirit of community and family land ownership,” says Joy Mugisha. “Our projects are designed to enable orphans, and those who care for them, to stay in their communities.”

TAO is currently recruiting staff for the 3-year project, due to start in May 2008.

“The Big Lottery money will really make a difference to these people’s lives,” says Joy Mugisha, “because if people don’t have land security then they cannot begin to start farming it to feed themselves and earn money to help with their children’s education.”