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Wednesday,August 05,2020 19:49 PM

North and east reap from NUSAF projects

By Vision Reporter

Added 2nd September 2009 03:00 AM

GRACE Akello, then 16, with friends, left the confines of Awere Internally Displaced Peoples’ Camp collect firewood, when she was gang-raped by eight rebels of the Lord’s Resistance Army. The result of that rape is her daughter, Alum, meaning bush.

GRACE Akello, then 16, with friends, left the confines of Awere Internally Displaced Peoples’ Camp collect firewood, when she was gang-raped by eight rebels of the Lord’s Resistance Army. The result of that rape is her daughter, Alum, meaning bush.

By George Laghu

GRACE Akello, then 16, with friends, left the confines of Awere Internally Displaced Peoples’ Camp collect firewood, when she was gang-raped by eight rebels of the Lord’s Resistance Army. The result of that rape is her daughter, Alum, meaning bush.

By five years of age, Alum knew where it was easiest to fetch water, preferring either the NUSAF water point or the World Food Programme one.

When Alum fell sick with diarrhoea, her mother hurried her to “Ot yat Nusaf” (NUSAF hospital).
Alum recalled that the previous day, her mother and Maama Odong talked about money they got from NUSAF to clear the upland rice field and from her mother’s back she intuitively asked: “Who is this man NUSAF?”

“Nusaf is not a man; you will know about it when you grow up,” answered Akello.
Alum’s limited knowledge of NUSAF is an indication that the Northern Uganda Social Action Fund (NUSAF) has become a household name in northern Uganda.

NUSAF is a Government project established to help the north to develop.

It is, therefore, disheartening that Alum’s sickness, her mother’s poverty, along with many others in northern Uganda are some of the indicators of the success or failure of NUSAF. For example, the (NUSAF 1) strategic plan of the water sector was not only aimed at easy access to water, but to also control waterborne diseases. Even then, diarrhoea has remained rampant.
Classrooms have been built, but the education standards in primary is poor. Dispensaries have been built but, have no staffed or are understaffed.

With such a scenario, can NUSAF I be a success?

An overview of the performance recently presented to stakeholders shows that the project is successful. With $100m (about sh200b) from the World Bank, the Government approved the initial five-year project (2003 to 2008). By September, 2009, NUSAF I was developed into NUSAF II, with another $100m from the Specific Investment Loan of the World Bank.

This five-year multi-sectoral community demand-driven project will be implemented with guidance from the central government as part of the Peace, Recovery and Development Plan (PRDP). NUSAF II will consolidate the gains of NUSAF 1 and cover the 40 districts of Acholi, Lango, West Nile, Karamoja, Bukedi, Bunyoro, Elgon and Teso sub-regions.

A report by the Economic Policy Research Centre (EPRC), an independent body not attached to the Government, found that NUSAF 1 had a significant impact in northern Uganda in poverty reduction - from 67.5% to 57.4% between 2003-2009. However, the poverty level in the north was still way below the national poverty level.
The director of EPRC, Dr. Sarah Ssewanyana, said the report, yet to be handed to the Office of the Prime Minister, indicated that rural poverty was reduced from 70.7% to 61.1% while urban poverty fell from 40.1% to 25.7%. Food poverty dropped from 46.2% to 34.2%. Significant reductions in poverty head counts were registered in all sub-regions. In 2008, more people depended on food from their own sources, which Ssewanyana attributed to the prevailing peace.

According to the report, 40% of northern Ugandans live in chronically poverty, with the rural population especially in West Nile and Karamoja registering the highest percentage.

The report also showed that most of the people who moved out of poverty had fewer children, better labour endowment, education, houses and safe water.
No significant impact was registered improved nutrition.

“To suggest that NUSAF I is a failure is misleading because significant reduction in poverty has been achieved though unevenly distributed,” Ssewanyana said.

Dr. Sulaiman Namara of the World Bank, agrees that there have been mistakes in the implementation of NUSAF 1.

“The greatest problem was that few technical people had read and understood the operational manual. We shall ensure zero tolerance for corruption and mismanagement,” Namara said.

Mismanagement cases

Cases in point are the failure of Karamoja to show accountability, the misappropriation of sh1b given to West Nile.
More money was also inappropriately given to Obong’s Youth Centre.

Ms Flavia Wodua, the Permanent Secretary, Office of the Prime Minister, said:
“We need to build an implementation capacity for NUSAF II before the programme rolls out. The Prime Minister’s office will sign a Memorandum of Understanding with each district, 15 days before the programme is launched,” Wodua said.

She also singled out the lack of empowerment of the people to own NUSAF 1 as a major let down. “To curb this problem, NUSAF II will be closely monitored and money will be accessed only after the project designs are approved by the Prime Minister’s Office and Ministry of Finance.

Whether NUSAF II will be a success, will depend on the use of its operational manuals, stringent monitoring and evaluation mechanisms and involvement of the people.

North and east reap from NUSAF projects

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