Karamoja Cluster Research Facility (KAREF)
There is more to the Karamoja cluster ethnic grouping than food insecurity, drought, conflict, livestock rustling, and endemic poverty, a history of neglect and proliferation of firearms and high rates of illiteracy among several challenges that bedevil this sub-region. The Karamoja cluster describes a geographic location in East Africa (Ethiopia, Kenya, Uganda and South Sudan) that is occupied by a nilotic-hamitic ethnic grouping with a common ancestry. The Toposa subsist in South East of South Sudan, Nyangatom are in the south west of Ehtiopia, Turkana to the North West part of Kenya and the Karamojong in the north east of Uganda (this group is further sub-divided into Pian, Matheniko, Bokora, Dodoth and Labwor).
In this region there are other ethnic groups such as the Kuliak (Ik and Tepth) and Pokot (Suk) that are considered part of the Nilo-Hamitic group, closer to the Maasai. However, some accounts place this group to the Kalengin but this has remained unresolved. Nonetheless, this sub-region is considered as one of the most vital area with unprecedented fossil and archaeological remains, providing evidence relevant in discerning modern human evolution and development. The Turkana Basin Institute has argued that this is the place where our story as humans is written because every human being alive today shares DNA inherited from a common ancestral population that we currently believe lived in or within a few hundred miles of the Turkana Basin, about 60-70,000 years ago.
The region is home to some of the most dynamic ecology both human and natural under fluctuating regimes owing to stochastic rainfall in the region and a rich cultural history a singing pastoral people. The region also has significant mineralization in terms of Gold, Marbel, Ironstones and other minerals. Most recently, the discovery of large hydrocarbons-oil in Kenya has introduced into the region to another dynamic issue that requires attention. This centre is focused on supporting advancing of research and exploration in the Karamoja cluster region. This serves as a center point for all research on agriculture in the Karamoja cluster. It contains a repository of publications from research on agriculture and related fields done in Karamoja and the areas surrounding the sub-region including; South Sudan and Kenya.
The facility offers space for collaborations among many stake-holders in the sector including; the local agricultural champions, community leaders, researchers and students. It also serves as a base from which all agricultural, climate change human development and sustainability research in the target areas is coordinated and research findings disseminated back to the target communities.
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