Thomas picks leafy green vegetables in his garden in Palabek.

Project information

Start date: September 2023

End date: September 2026

Location: Palabek Refugee Settlement, Lamwo, Uganda

The Challenge

Palabek refugee settlement in Lamwo district currently hosts over 69,000 refugees. Despite having fled conflict, many remain dependent on humanitarian aid to meet their basic needs. Malnutrition is rife, as is unemployment. Only 21.8% of refugees in the camp have an occupation (UNHCR, 2022).

Both hosts and refugees rely on small-scale farming either for food or income. But it is getting harder to work the land. The effects of climate change are being felt acutely—drought and unpredictable weather have reduced yields, leaving families without food on the table. Unsustainable land management and reliance on fuel are accelerating environmental deterioration.

Both hosts and refugees work hard to overcome their poverty. Without access to weather information and without the means to implement climate-smart agriculture practices however, farmers have been left unable to adapt to the difficult conditions.

In Palabek, the consequences of poverty are grave. Competition over space, jobs and services produces conflict between refugee and host communities. Women and young people are often the first to have their access to land restricted, leaving them in a position of dependency. Gender-based violence, early marriage and teenage pregnancies are common. Each of these limit women’s opportunities for economic participation and social inclusion. People with disabilities are also marginalised.

Our project

Led by our partners VEDCO, this project will apply climate-smart agriculture to improve the livelihoods of 2,400 households from both refugee and host communities. 70% of the households will be women-led. We will also prioritise young people and people with disabilities. This will enable us to reach 14,400 family members total.

What is climate-smart agriculture? Climate-smart agriculture means viewing food insecurity, poverty alleviation and climate change as inter-linked. We will enable locally-managed access to drought-tolerant seeds to fortify farmer’s incomes and yields against climate shocks. Solar-drying facilities and energy-efficient stoves will keep both emissions and energy costs low. Organic fertilisers and improved conservation methods will protect the natural environment farmers depend so much upon. Each of these practices will increase the availability of sustainable, nutritious vegetables, benefiting a further 30,120 people at risk of undernutrition. This follows an approach that was successfully tested with both communities as a response to the impact of COVID-19. By the end of that project, 4,752 people were trading or receiving vegetables and seeds, exceeding the target of 3,760.

This project will be similarly transformative by holistically improving the quality of life of the people it reaches, making them healthier, happier, improving their incomes and supporting community cohesion.

What we’ll achieve

  • 1,920 farmers have increased their year-round incomes by at least 50%
  • 2,160 farmers report increased productivity
  • 2,160 farmers with improved knowledge of local market needs and pricing
  • 30,120 people positively impacted by increased volumes of vegetable/beans and access to quality improved seed
  • 21,000 farmers using improved (stress-tolerant) seed varieties
  • 1,680 farmers applying climate-smart agriculture techniques and soil/water conservation practices

Project Funders

The main funder for this project is the Foundation for the Third Millennium.