UN programme addresses underlying causes of hunger in Uganda

14 April 2010The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) is launching a new livelihood programme designed to address the underlying causes of food shortages in Karamoja, the poorest and most marginalised region in Uganda which has not had a successful harvest in five years and where more than 80 per cent of the population lives in poverty. The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) is launching a new livelihood programme designed to address the underlying causes of food shortages in Karamoja, the poorest and most marginalised region in Uganda which has not had a successful harvest in five years and where more than 80 per cent of the population lives in poverty.“Karamoja needs to find a way out of the almost continual need for food and other assistance and WFP is a vital part of the solution,” said WFP Uganda Country Director Stanlake Samkange.Under the leadership of the Government of Uganda, and with support from the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the International Organization for Migration, the Karamoja Productive Assets Programme will target moderately food-insecure households in the north-east region of the East African country. Participants will grow cash crops and develop better farming techniques in the arid region known for its lack of rainfall, and acquire skills through food or cash-for-work schemes.The projects will include the cultivation of cassava, the production of cash crops such as gum Arabic and onions, and the creation of water-harvesting assets including low-technology dams. In addition, WFP will support fuel and soil conservation, energy-saving technology including cooking stoves in schools, and tree planting.While the new programme is a shift from traditional relief operations in the region, the UN agency will continue providing rations to the country’s 1.2 million people. As part of an emergency operation that will start next week and run until the end of the year, WFP will distribute monthly food rations to 300,000 people, particularly vulnerable households and homes with malnourished children. “Continuous longer-term food distributions cannot on their own end hunger in Karamoja,” said Mr. Samkange.WFP said the new livelihoods programme combined with the emergency operation will benefit some 400,000 people. The agency needs $25 million to run the livelihoods programme until the end of the year, of which $5.2 million has been raised. “WFP urgently needs more support from donors. Without it, we will be unable to seize the development opportunities facing us,” said Mr. Samkange. read more

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Young actor looking for big break

A Simcoe boy is putting the ‘son’ in ‘Sonshine and Broccoli.’Seven-year-old Luca Coelho has been acting and modelling for two years, and has been in multiple TV and web commercials. His most recent role is playing the son, Miles, in the new pilot for the children’s show Sonshine and Broccoli.Sonshine and Broccoli is a children’s music group that formed in 2004 and is trying to make the transition into television. Their most recent album, It’s Cool to be Kind, was nominated for a 2019 Juno Award for best children’s album.“When he was really young we noticed he loved being the centre of attention,” said Luca’s mother Karina Coelho. “He loves to entertain, from a very early age he could captivate an audience.”The Grade 2 student has an agent, but happened to find the role through someone he had worked with before.  Nick Atef, the father in the television show, suggested bringing Luca in for the part as the son.“It was cool, everyone was really nice,” Luca said about the experience. The pilot was filmed in Toronto back in February of this year.The Sonshine and Broccoli pilot is up against other children’s shows to be the successful recipient of a production grant. Part of the criteria for this grant is proving there is interest in the show. The amount of views, comments, and shares the pilot has on social media will directly impact if it will be produced.The final number of views will be counted at the end of March.“We know how Norfolk rallies together to support one another and would love help to spread the word,” said Karina.The video has already surpassed 41,000 views online. It can be found on the Sonshine and Broccoli website, or on their Facebook fan page.astaylor@postmedia.com read more

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