Milk Matters in Karamoja

A collaboration with Save the Children in Uganda and funded by UNICEF/Kampala, Milk Matters in Karamoja emerged from the work done by the FIC/Save the Children team in Ethiopia. This study was designed to complement the work by the Ethiopia team while also serving as a stand-alone research project. This project was completed in October 2011.

The objective of the project was to understand how milk had changed in the diets of children under age five and in household livelihood strategies. To that end, we sought to understand the sources of milk coming into the household, the uses of milk within households, and the role milk played within the diets of children. We then examined how these factors had changed over time.

An FIC team collected data in six sub-counties across the three “livelihood zones” in the region: agricultural, agro-pastoral and pastoral. We used qualitative approaches to gather data, and designed several of the participatory questions in such a way that the data could be converted into quantitative measures. While not representative, we believe that the results from this study point to key issues and trends occurring in regard to milk access and availability at the household level.

Our findings showed that households have seen a sharp reduction in milk from their own herds, and seek to compensate for this loss with purchased milk. Overall milk supply within households in all areas has drastically reduced due to multiple years of drought, livestock loss, and the erosion of animal-based livelihoods. Although households had much less milk to go around, both men and women report prioritizing consumption by young children for any milk that can be obtained. Households have made a series of changes in their livelihoods in an attempt to adjust the loss of milk and other impacts of the decrease in animal herds, but these strategies have had limited success in addressing food insecurity and improving dietary diversity for children. The report discusses interventions to bolster milk supply as tested in other areas, and makes recommendations for a comprehensive approach to improving the environment for the pursuit of livelihoods in the region.

Milk Matters in Karamoja
By Elizabeth Stites, Emily Mitchard | October 2011

Households in the Karamoja region of northeastern Uganda have seen a precipitous drop in access to and availability of animal milk in recent years. The declining milk supply affects livelihoods,...

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