Karamojong going from cattle raiders to redeemed farmers

By March 6, 2023
ecm, karamojong, uganda

Uganda (MNN) — The current famine in Karamoja, one of Uganda’s poorest regions, is one of the worst in recent years. Up to 75% of the Karamojong people are facing food insecurity. Drought plays a big part in the food insecurity, but it’s worsened by supply chain issues and ongoing conflict.

The Karamojong people are pastoralists and primarily raise cattle. A man’s worth among the Karamojong is based on the number of cattle he possesses.

Mark Luckey, executive director of Every Child Ministries, explains, “There’s a lot of insecurity because the Karamojong have a belief — which sounds crazy to us, but it’s a real belief that they have — that all the cattle in the world belong to the Karamojong. So it is their right to take whatever cattle they want because they all belong to them. They’re very willing to even kill other people…. You would steal cattle even from other Karamojong and even kill other Karamojong to gain more cattle.”

ecm, karamojong, uganda

(Photo courtesy of Every Child Ministries)

They also don’t often accept help from outsiders. ECM works in Karamoja, but before they can talk food and farming, Luckey says, “First of all, they need to know Jesus.

“They need to have that relationship with God restored. That’s why evangelism is such an important tool in these areas because, yes, we want them to eat. We want them to have enough food. We want them to send their kids to school. But none of that is going to happen as long as that relationship with God is broken.

“From there, the relationship with each other is where we can come in and help them build those relationships. And then maybe farming techniques will take root and they’ll be able to improve in some of those areas. Maybe then they’ll be more receptive to advice and input from outside.”

ECM has introduced an African-developed farming program to the Karamojong people called Farming God’s Way. Luckey says this program is “very scripturally-based, very God-centered. That in itself becomes a tool of evangelism that we use [while], at the same time, teaching farming techniques that work better.”

Currently, there are 120 farming units in the program with ECM in Karamoja

“The results have been good! If you use proper farming methods, you can grow food even if you don’t have a lot of water,” Luckey says. “Now, if you have an incredible drought, that’s going to affect everything. But typically, you can get by with even lesser amounts of rain if you use the proper methods.”

ecm, karamojong, uganda

(Photo courtesy of Every Child Ministries)

Luckey and other ECM staff visited a farmer’s home and the farmer had a granary. Even in the midst of famine, Luckey says, “She took us over to the granary and they took two people and they got up on top and they took the big lid off the top. The corn just fell off the top, there was so much in there!

“That was just to me a perfect sign of how God can provide — that despite a lack of rain, when people are open and look to Him and listen to the trainings that other people can give them, they can grow food. They can be successful and it can be overflowing more than they can fit in their granary basket.”

Pray for the Karamojong to know abundant life in Christ! Ask God to equip new Karamojong believers to reach their people with the Gospel.

You can support ECM’s ministry here.







Header photo courtesy of ECM.

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