Northern Uganda now enjoys peace after suffering decades of conflict spurred by Joseph Kony's Lord's Resistance Army. Nearly 1.4 million people were impacted by kidnapping, property destruction and killing. Three years ago, with Kony run into the Congo jungle, refugees from bleak internally Displaced Person (IDP) camps began returning to their hamlets, and Kony's abducted child soldiers began trickling home.
In March 2012, I documented reconstruction, spurred by public and private foreign investment. My initial focus was U.S. AID's $50 million rural infrastructure project, NUDEIL, that is drilling wells, building gravel roads, and constructing schools. Implemented by Winrock International, NUDEIL collaborates with local governments, and emphasizes using local labor (rather than machinery), to provide impoverished farmers with needed cash.
Separately, Gulu Agricultural Development Company (GADC) is reviving local cotton farming as a regional cash crop for subsistence farmers. GADC founder, South African Bruce Robertson, retooled Gulu's war-damaged ginnery, and supports long-displaced farmers with training and a hungry ginnery. Last year, the third season, GADC purchased cotton from nearly 10,000 small farmers, and provided work to 300 Gulu ginnery employees.
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