ECOFOOD Project launched at Gulu University

ECOFOOD Project launched at Gulu University

The ECOFOOD Project, a research being implemented by a consortium of different education institutions including Gulu University under Faculty of Agriculture and Environment, Institute for Rural and Regional Research (RURALIS)-Norway, Norwegian University of Life Sciences, Western Norway University of Applied Sciences, Sokoine University of Agriculture-Tanzania, and University of Waterloo-Canada has been launched at Gulu University.

The project titled “Creating Inclusive and Sustainable Food Systems in Refugee-hosting Contexts in Sub-Saharan Africa (ECOFOOD) was launched by the Gulu University Vice Chancellor Prof. Openjuru George Ladaah on Monday 10th June, 2024 from Faculty of Agriculture and Environment.

According to the project coordinator for Gulu University Dr. Solomon Olum, the primary objective of the ECOFOOD project is to assess strategies for facilitating the inclusion of small-scale food producers in the food system and to enhance food and nutrition security for women and children, as well as climate resilience and biodiversity conservation in refugee-hosting contexts.

This project will focus on investigating how access to agricultural resources and climate-resilient innovations can foster the effect participation of women and youth small-scale food producers in local food systems.

The project is also aimed at providing knowledge on barriers and incentives to adopting climate-resilient innovations within different food systems (crops, livestock, and fisheries) in refugee-hosting contexts in Uganda and Tanzania.

The Vice chancellor launched the project with a call to all partners and institutions involved to work towards making visible impact that would not only end after the project time period is done but also live for years to come.

“When you say we want to move from food-aid to sustainable food system, it should not only be during the project but even if we go there ten years later, we should find that the practice is still there. I will be grateful if the Office of the Prime Minister tells us that because of your interventions, the food requirement to the refugee camps has significantly dropped” Prof. Openjuru said.

The Dean of Students Faculty of Agriculture and Environment Dr. Collins Okello said there is a growing food crisis among refugees because of their increasing population. This project is therefore, to supplement the different efforts in place to address these challenges.

The general coordinator for ECOFOOD project Sarah Khasalamwa-Mwandha said the project will also analyze the relationships between refugees and the host communities and how they can address the challenges of food insecurity.

ECOFOOD is a four-year project with activities running in Uganda and Tanzania. The two East African countries host millions of refugees from neighboring countries like DR. Congo, South Sudan, Rwanda, Somalia, and Burundi. This project is funded by the Norwegian Research Council.

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