Uganda in eastern Africa has to deal with poverty, rapid population growth (from 24,442,084 inhabitants in 2002 to 32,369,558 in 2009)1 and until recently it suffered from the activities of a rebel movement called the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA). The consequences are most felt in rural areas. The unrest which until recently prevailed in the region has caused an internal displacement of 1,800,000 people 2 . Since the signing of a treaty to end hostilities between the Ugandan government and Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) in 2006, approximately two thirds of the 1,800,000 internal refugees (IDPs) returned to their homeland. 681.000 (February 2009 figures) have returned to their native places in Acholi, West Nile, Bunyoro, Toro and Teso.
In Teso district alone these are 115,000 people.
However, much remains to be done to ensure that these people are capable of a self-supporting and sustainable means of living. Basic infrastructure and services in the areas returned are insufficient or non-existent. Lack of access to clean water is a risk of epidemics, and clinics and schools are struggling with a lack of facilities and qualified personnel. While returnees have started to grow their own food, the food security of many is still vulnerable, especially due to the absent of sufficient rainfall since April 2009 means that the harvest is expected to be more than 60 percent lower than normal 3 . There are still centers where severely malnourished children are under medical supervision, and nutritional supplements administered.
The situation is so acute that some desperate mothers are forced to abandon their children in the urban streets in the (often in vain) hope that someone will take care of them 4 .
Poverty, rapid population growth and spread of HIV/AIDS have a major impact on the social and economic welfare of the rural population. In addition, the available resources are under great pressure and public funding is limited. All this worsens the position of the rural population still further.