Supporting infrastructure development is one of the key interventions of the Development Initiative for Northern Uganda (DINU), a government program supported by the European Union and implemented by the Office of the Prime Minister (OPM). 

The strategic infrastructure projects under DINU include the construction of the Gulu Trade Logistics Hub, upgrading of Atiak-Laropi road, promotion of mini-grids in Lamwo District, and construction of valley tanks in the Karamoja Sub-region.

Gulu Logistics Hub

Department for International Development (DFID) through a partnership with TradeMark East Africa is constructing a Trade Logistics Hub in Gulu, which shall serve the trade corridors of (i) Kampala -Gulu – Elegu/Nimule-Juba Trade Corridor; and (ii) Gulu-Packwach Goli/Padea/Lia/Vura DRC. 

The UGX30b (EUR7.6m) facility is expected to improve the capacity of transport infrastructure in Northern Uganda to serve markets in South Sudan, Northern Uganda, and parts of DRC. Construction works are expected to be completed in August.

Gulu Logistics Hub administration block under construction

Construction progress of the container freight station

Upgrading of Atiak-Laropi road

The 66km Atiak-Laropi road is part of the Atiak-Moyo-South Sudan border road, which is a regional, national and international route connecting the remote North-western region of Uganda and South Sudan to the Ugandan capital of Kampala via Gulu.

The upgrading of the Shs244b (EUR61m) road to paved standard will increase the connectivity of a number of northern districts to the national road network and ensure a stable, all-weather connection with the rest of the country.

The road will improve transport services and agricultural productivity by connecting remote and disadvantaged districts to the main road network. It is being constructed by Strabag International under the supervision of the Uganda National Roads Authority/Ministry of Works and Transport under DINU support. It will largely benefit importers, exporters, transporters in Northern Uganda, South Sudan, DR Congo, and Kenya, which is expected to be completed in 2023.

Atiak-Laropi road construction works underway.

DINU Programme Steering Committee members and district officials from Amuru and Adjumani during a recent tour of the road to monitor construction progress.

 Promotion of mini-grids

The Shs18.8b (EUR 4.7m) project will provide electricity for rural populations in Lamwo District in Northern Uganda. This will enable them to improve the standard of living in their homes and improve public services such as health, education, and administration. The intervention started in 2016 and will be completed in 2021. It is being implemented by GIZ-Energy under DINU support.

At least 2,300 customers are planned to be connected to the mini-grids and another 4,500 customers out of reach of the distribution lines connected through standalone systems. Currently, poles have been installed in all the 25 mini-grid villages and the first mini-grids will start to be installed mid this year.

Pole installation in one of the 25 mini-grid villages in Lamwo District.

 Increasing water for production in Karamoja

The Shs20b (EUR5m) project that has been completed, combined the construction of valley tanks in Karamoja to ensure increased availability of water for production and better use of seasonal water to reach 20,000 direct beneficiaries.  A total of eight valley tanks were constructed, eight boreholes drilled and water source protection measures implemented in 23 valley tanks in the sub-region.

One of the new valley tanks constructed in Karamoja under DINU

Support to safety and security

Another DINU intervention has been supporting safety and security through strengthening capacities and the presence of Uganda Police in the Karamoja Sub-region. Under the support, UPF has trained more than 500 police officers in the sub-region in community policing methodologies. Also, seven police posts shall be constructed in seven districts of Karamoja.

Fostering accountability

DINU has promoted accountability and transparency in service delivery and management of public finances through the enhancement of OPM community meetings commonly known as baraza. Twenty (20) barazas were organized and implemented in Amuria, Moroto, Oyam, Pader, and Zombo districts from November 11 to December 10 last year.

 Involving DLGs in DINU implementation

More than 37 District Coordination Meetings (DCMs) were organized in the five sub-regions of Acholi, Karamoja, Lango, Teso, and West Nile to majorly update key political and technical stakeholders on DINU implementation progress, and to introduce the program implementing partners.

The meetings attracted more than 160 leaders who included Resident District Commissioners, district chairpersons, chief administrative officers, district focal point persons, heads of departments, and implementing partners. They reviewed the ongoing DINU activities and actions that focus on livelihood improvement, diversified food production, nutrition, infrastructure improvement, commercial agriculture, and agri-business development.

Governance and equal participation

Karamoja Good Governance and Accountability, a DINU grant action implemented by ADOL and partners, has trained about 64 Area Land Committees (ALCs) in Abim and Nakapiripirit districts on land management, conflict resolution, and registration process for legal customary land ownership and improved food security.

As a result, the two districts have so far registered a tremendous reduction in land conflicts with many customary landowners seeking support for legal registration and ownership of their land.

Meanwhile, the Center for Health, Human Rights and Development (CEHURD), under the DINU grant action, is using the Legal Empowerment and Social Accountability (LESA) approach to promote good governance and accountability for effective service delivery in Koboko and Maracha districts. The various activities under the project have presented opportunities for community members to hold leaders more accountable.

According to the DINU National Coordinator, Mr. Pius Ongom Okello, the programme has made great progress in various areas of intervention such as supporting the participation of women in financial inclusion, livelihood, and production, nutrition, infrastructure, good governance, and accountability in Northern Uganda despite the impact of Covid-19.

“Covid19 seriously affected the performance of all the infrastructure projects, especially through disrupting supply chains for materials and mobilization of labor. Many projects lost close to between four and six months of work. However, we are picking up speedily and we are hopeful that all projects under DINU shall be implemented successfully,” he said.

About DINU

The Development Initiative for Northern Uganda (DINU) programme, which was initiated in 2017 is a EUR150.6 million affirmative action programme of the Government of Uganda and supported by the European Union that is designed to consolidate stability in Northern Uganda, eradicate poverty and under-nutrition and strengthen the foundations for sustainable and inclusive socio-economic development.

The programme supports interventions in three specific interlinked sectors: (1) Food Security, Nutrition and Livelihoods (2) Infrastructures (transport, logistics, water, energy), and (3) Good Governance.

OPM is responsible for the overall supervision of the DINU programme in partnership with local governments and a wide range of stakeholders, including other implementing partners – Department for International Development (DFID)/Trademark East Africa, Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ), United Nations Capital Development Fund (UNCDF), and United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), and Uganda National Roads Authority (UNRA).

Other key implementing partners are nine grantees that are implementing various development projects under DINU in the five sub-regions of Acholi, Karamoja, Lango, Teso, and West Nile. These include CARITAS Switzerland, International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (ITTA), National Agricultural Research Organisation (NARO), Lutheran World Federation (LWF), CARE-Denmark, Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung (KAS), Center for Health, Human Rights and Development (CEHURD), ADOL Health Care Initiative and DIAKONIA-Sweden.