The Karamoja Tourist Guides initiative was started in 2020 with support from United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) under the Youth4Business Entrepreneurship and Innovation Challenge programme.
The initiative’s main objective was to train young aspiring female tourist guides in Karamoja region so as to contribute towards the much needed human resources and promote business development in the tourism industry of North Eastern Uganda.
About 50 young women from the different districts (Kaabong, Abim, Kotido, Moroto, Napak, Nakapiripirit and Amudat) of Karamoja were selected and trained by Bird Uganda Safaris to become professional tourist guides.
To date, there over 10 female tourist guides who have been absorbed in the job industry and are working with companies like Karatunga Tours and Travels, Seven Rangers Hotel, Uganda Safari Guides Association and others.
Karamoja is a region located in the northeast of Uganda, covering the districts of Nakapiripit, Napak, Moroto, Kotido, Kaabong and Abim districts. According to the Uganda National Housing Survey (UNHS), the region is the least socially and economically developed with 61% of the total population of 1.2 million living in poverty. (UNHS 2016/2017).
The region has quite a young population with an average age being 15 years, of these more than half of them are females. They also have the highest fertility rate in Uganda, with the reproductive age of the women being between 15 and 49 years.
The region has faced a number of challenges including conflict from civil war, private ownership of guns, cattle rustling/raiding, poor infrastructure, severe environmental degradation, and limited access to health and educational services.
One of the toughest challenges the region is continuously facing is food insecurity brought by climate unpredictability and change which puts a lot of pressure on the already scarce resources. The region is plagued by recurring droughts, prolonged dry spells, and flash floods.
With these challenges, there was a serious need for an initiative to assist with redistributing wealth and opportunities. Such opportunities will enable the people of Karamoja to realize their basic human rights. There is a serious intervention required to strengthen the region’s human capital competitiveness for sustainable wealth creation, inclusive growth, and equal employment opportunities.