Transition will be difficult for the Karimojong. We propose to help them land more softly in the region by building a temporary transitional housing facility as well as starting a farm with a community garden and milk cows before their arrival. This will give them shelter while they build their own homes and food while they plant their own gardens. Everyone will be expected to work on the community farm for their own success and the success of second generation settlers.
If possible we want to locate an area within reasonable walking distance to a school, clinic and market. Up to twelve families will be selected as first generation pioneers based on pre-determined criteria with the hopes of building community. We propose overcoming isolation through a model of generosity. The Karimojong will be asked to build homes, grow gardens and breed cattle beyond their own family's consumption in order to help new families resettle in the area. In other words, as we have done for them, they will be asked to do for others. If they are not willing to work toward this goal they will be asked to leave the transitional facility in order to make room for those who are willing to help other families resettle. Lastly, our Simple Church dreams of gathering believers in many unreached communities including this resettlement village. Our hope is that, through disicpleship, God will forge a loving and generous community that seeks the welfare of the village regardless of religion.
Famine was reality in the 80's when our television screens were filled with images of starving children from Karamoja due to severe drought. Napak is a mountainous, semi-desert region with a diversity of environments. Much of the valley is very fertile and receives more consistent rainfall. Much of the famine in Karamoja was a result of the loss of cattle. A diet of milk and blood was vital to survival between harvests and surviving long dry spells. But traditional farming methods also waste the gift of rain, cause soil erosion and destroy soil fertility. We hope to provide agricultural and pastoral training so that their yields increase, they withstand drought conditions and they're able to propagate cattle for the communities' well-being. Their survival depends on their willingness to work hard and adapt new methods.
With security, infrastructure, community and transitional living arrangements in place, establishing a livelihood is vital to settling for the long term and for a future generation of settlers coming to do the same. While villagers will primarily depend on farming and pastoralism for food and drink, we hope to connect them to the broader Ugandan market if and when they have the desire. High Desert Agriculture, our own family business, will offer the opportunity to organize agricultural coops so the locals can wisely develop their communal lands for profit. Too often big business and government enjoy Ugandans' natural resources while the locals suffer through land wrangles, environmental degradation and increased prices of local products. In the future we hope the Karimojong organize themselves to grow and sell high quality, high desert products that are in demand on the larger market.
Most of those living in the slums were from Napak district. Raiders ripped through this fertile East-West corridor leaving it almost completely abandoned up until now. In recent years the government has disarmed cattle raiders and built security posts in strategic locations to ensure peace. Their efforts, while unbalanced and controversial to begin with, have ultimately stabilized the region from violence. As a result, the neighboring district has doubled in population since 2010. Napak still holds the lowest population density on arable land in Uganda with 22.3 persons per square km (247 acres). Many of the people from Napak remain in the slums while others continue to return and develop.