The World Bank report (2006) indicates that 82 percent of the Karamojong are living below poverty compared to a national average of 31 percent. Access to sanitation is only 9 percent compared to the national average of 62 percent and literacy rate is 11 percent compared to 67 percent at the national level.
Agnes Lomkol, 29, towers over the seated children at the mud walled room that serves as the early childhood development (ECD) center, in Nakapelimen village of Moroto district in northeast Uganda. Something other than the simple coolness of the dimly lit room draws even more dust-covered children inside, away from the scorching morning sun. This is Karamoja, a disadvantaged semi-arid sub-region that is nursing wounds of inter-clan wars. Here, education is still a luxury. As the late students squeeze and shuffle around for sitting space on the mat-covered floor, a stern female voice calls them to order. With anxiety for new tidbits of knowledge they settle down hurriedly and focus their attention on the slender solemn lady standing at the far corner of the room.
Agnes’s warm smile can light up any room, and she is gentle with all the children. She does not distinguish between those who arrive punctually at 8 o’clock, and those who run in hours later.