NDF - Financing for climate change and development projects

NCF 6: Climate resilience and diversification of livelihoods in Northern Uganda

Kick-off meeting, January 2017. Photo: Peter Moers, Strømmestiftelsen
Kick-off meeting, January 2017
Metal working workshop for stove production. Photo: Peter Moers, Strømmestiftelsen
Metal working workshop for stove production
Karamoja landscape. Photo: Peter Moers, Strømmestiftelsen
Karamoja landscape
Improved beehive. Photo: Peter Moers, Strømmestiftelsen
Improved beehive
This project is a response to the increased vulnerability of rural population to drought and erosion in the dry north-east of Uganda, which affects their food and energy security, as well as incomes.

Climate resilience and diversification of livelihoods in Northern Uganda

Nordic Partner: Strømmestiftelsen/Strømme Foundation
Local Partner: Arid Land Development Programme (ADP)
Other Partner: Stichting Woord en Daad
Total Project Cost: EUR 699,495
NCF Financing: EUR 500,000
Agreement Signed: 2 March 2017
Project type: Combination
Duration: 30 months

Project objective

The project aims to improve the climate resilience of 1500 rural households in the semi-arid Karamoja region (Kotido, Abim and Kaabong districts). A reversal of the deforestation trend in the area is a necessary condition for this to happen. In order to achieve this, the project develops an integrated business model that includes the following main components:

  • planting multipurpose trees (wood, nectar, fruit, fodder).
  • promoting honey production,
  • introducing a short-cycle sorghum variety,
  • introducing efficient cooking stoves.

The different components mutually strengthen each other.

Main results/outputs

1. Increased access to financial services for 1500 households through Savings Groups (SG). The SGs play an important role in ensuring that the results of the project remain and will expand after project end.
2. Increased production of honey (300 farmers) and white sorghum (1200 farmers). It is expected that each beekeeper harvests 60 kg of honey per year, while sorghum farmers increase their production on average by 50% thanks to the introduction of a short-cycle variety.
3. Reforestation and reduced use of wood-based fuels. The average number of trees per acre of farmland will increase, while households using improved cooking stoves are expected to reduce their consumption of firewood by 50%. 


The project promotes an integrated, diversified and sustainable rural production model in 3 districts in the semi-arid Karamoja region in north-eastern Uganda. The main goal is to reduce the vulnerability of man and nature to the increasingly extreme climate patterns.

Honey production plays a central role in this development model: Its increasing market demand and production potential in the region can significantly improve rural household incomes within a short time span. To be productive, bees need abundant access to nectar sources. This provides an incentive for farmers to protect, regenerate and plant trees.

The protection is in the short run driven by a participatory process that leads to 8 Community Action Plans in which 8 clusters of villages agree to protect and regenerate trees in their area. The communities are trained in Farmer-Managed Natural Regeneration (FMNR) practices that allow for a fast recovery of trees that are cut but whose root system is still intact. A short-cycle, drought resistant sorghum variety will be introduced, in combination with training in integrated agroforestry practices, such as intercropping with trees and (leguminous) soil cover.

The project also actively supports the planting of multi-purpose trees. Fruit trees (especially mango and cashew) will provide a growing source of nectar and generate income through the sale of fruits and nuts. Other trees are planted for the purpose of firewood, food, fodder, fencing, nectar, shade, soil protection and/or nitrogen fixing.

In order to help households cope with the reduced availability of firewood in the short run, fuel-efficient stoves will be introduced and local artisans will be trained in their fabrication.

For the 1500 households targeted, the intervention contributes to sustainable food production systems that are more climate-resilient and improve livelihoods.

Savings Groups play an important role, both in the start-up phase (to kick-start community-based organisation processes) and for the sustainability and replication of the concepts promoted in the project (through its savings and loans function).   

Relevance for climate change

The north-east of Uganda is classified as semi-arid land. Due to increasing population pressure and government policies, the population has become more sedentary. This improves the access to basic services (such as education and health care), but also makes the population more vulnerable to weather extremes. In addition, due to climate change the weather has become more extreme in the past decades, with longer drought periods, less reliable and more intense rainfall patterns. This in turn reduces crop production and access to pasture for livestock, affecting negatively the livelihoods of the population. A common strategy to cope with the reduced incomes is producing and selling charcoal. Progressive tree cutting results in serious erosion, further aggravating the problem of decreasing pastures and food production.

The project tries to break this vicious circle of poverty and environmental degradation by introducing economic activities that benefit from the presence of trees (beekeeping, conservation agriculture, fruit production), together with technologies that allow for a rapid expansion of the area covered by trees in the region (wood saving stoves, farmer-assisted natural regeneration of tree stumps, tree nurseries).

Innovation aspects

The project includes various innovative elements, both technologically and organisational:

  • Integrated agroforestry model (intercropping sorghum, fruit and firewood trees, leguminous cover crops, combined with beekeeping).
  • Using Saving Groups to make transition to fuel efficient stoves more attractive for households.
  • Simple infrared soil fertility scanner to give immediate fertilisation recommendations to farmers.
  • Péko Pé cooking stoves, which gasifies wood rather than burning it. This technology is not only more efficient and less polluting, it also produces a rest-product called biochar, which has proven to increase agricultural yields if mixed into soil. Moreover, it can use of any dry organic material as a fuel (such as corn cobs, stalks, cow dung, rice husk etc.), thus reduces the need to collect firewood.
  • Village tree protection plans, combined with a closely related income generation scheme.
  • Introduction of modern beehives, which allows constant harvesting without having to repopulate hives after each harvest.


More information

Arid Land Development Programme (ADP)
Stichting Woord en Daad