History of the Teso Sub-Region.

Teso sub-region History of the Teso Sub-Region (Overview about Teso Sub-Region). Teso sub-region is found in Eastern Uganda, with a total of nine districts namely: Amuria, Katakwi, Kaberamaido, Soroti, Serere, Ngora, Kumi, Bukedea and Pallisa. The sub-region has a total estimated population of 2.5 million people of Iteso and Kumam ethnicity. It has a total of 87 sub counties, and 02 Municipalities of Kumi and Soroti.

Brief Political, Social and Economic History about Teso Sub-Region: Teso sub-Region from 1960’s and 70’s used to be peaceful save Karamojong Cattle rustlers who would disturb peace in the neighbouring districts, the rest of sub-region has total peace and stability and Teso used to be economically sound, most households had hundreds and thousands of cattle, the main economic activity was cattle rearing and the sub-region used to produce highest numbers of qualified professionals.

The 1989, the glory of Teso was faded ,stolen , political instability cropped , cattle were stolen by Karamojong and entire Teso Sub-Region collapsed , civil war started in the entire Teso Sub-Region because people were annoyed with Government, many people were staying in camps since then and it worsened in 2003, when the Lord’s Resistance Army(LRA ) of Joseph Konyi evaded most parts of Amuria, Katakwi and Soroti, people were killed mainly women, children and men, this war again created deadly blow to the economy of Teso.

The area of Teso sub-region has suffered from a gross abuse of human rights particularly in the aftermath of the invasion by LRA Rebels in 2003. The area was in the epicentre of war during which there was a huge amount of political turmoil and socio-economic disintegration. The LRA invasion of 2003- 2004 left many people killed and displaced hundreds of thousands of people most of whom are now living in camps. In 1989, there was also drought in the Teso Sub-Region and this dripped economic activity in the Sub-Region.

Another disaster fell in the sub-region in 2007-2009, most parts were affected by floods which also displaced many people and left many homeless.

Now currently in 2017, there is hunger in most parts in the Teso sub-region due to prolonged drought. The sub-region having witnessed and gone through such political turbulence and natural disasters in the last two decades has reversed the glory of Teso Sub-Region, people were affected economically and socially, infrastructure was destroyed, many people killed and this has naturally affected the people, majority are now poor, Teso is ranked now the third last and entire population of Teso is weak both economically and socially.

The impact of insurgency, cattle rustling, and a wave of natural disasters such as the 2007 floods, have also created long-standing social disruption and deprivation that have combined to entrench people in the region in perpetual distress.

“Teso had an outstanding education arrangement. Many of those who passed through the schools received the best instruction and most them were able to join university. The quality of education in the region is wanting and even the government’s free education scheme for primary and secondary schools has not been of much help. Whereas in the past, government schools that used to perform better than those privately owned, it is now the latter that are ever excelling in the final national examinations.

“Political instability is to blame for the misfortunes that have befallen education in Teso. Local leaders are also not committed to engaging communities to generate solutions on how to get better performance from children in the region. The average performance in government schools across all sub counties is more wanting, but as the region continues to encounter challenges of poor education, there is need to explore the underlying factors underpinning poor performance.

Summary of the Current Economic and Social Problems (Threats), affecting Socio-Economic Development in the Teso Sub-Region and Uganda at Large.

  • High levels of Poverty a cross many households;
  • Alcohol, Illicit drug Consumption among many young people/Youth and men, this has resulted in to insecurity, mental illiness, economic, social vulnerabilities and risks ;
  • High rates of Unemployment among Youth and Women,
  • People are planting Marijuana, Cocaine in their gardens; this is a threat to the entire Teso Sub-Region;
  • Peer social unruly and criminal youth social group popularly known as “Okadibong,” this youth social grouping got intertwined in Teso Sub-Region and they spend their time smoking, drinking and consuming illicit drugs, source of theft, high cases of insecurity and pregnancies on young girls;
  • Local Leadership betrayal. Many people now in the Teso Sub-region do not trust their elected leaders simply because of poor service delivery, they do not hold central and local governments accountable, people have no confidence again;
  • Weak grass root Civil Society Organizations not empowered, they are supposed to be the bedrock of Democracy in any society;
  • High Illiteracy levels attributed to high school dropout rates;
  • Limited Civic Education Initiatives to empower people with citizen and state obligations;
  • Poverty/Frustration/Idleness among youth and men, they spend time gambling, drinking and playing in the Trading centres instead of participating in household economic activities resulting in to poverty which as negatively affected socio-economic household progress;
  • Corruption has stiff necked all public Institutions’, yet CSO’s the end users are not effective to check state power, demand for the rule of the law, people’s equality, the empowerment for people in the defense of fundamental natural human rights , accountability, and social and moral fabric of the society is weakened and lost. Grassroot CSO’s cannot encourage citizen activism in solving practical problems, fostering tolerance and inclusiveness.
  • Citizens ownership and participation in governance is very low, most Ugandans – most whom reside in rural communities are illiterate – still lack basic knowledge of their rights and responsibilities; they remain unfamiliar with ways of participating actively in decision-making at the local level and holding their elected officials accountable, this is highly witnessed in the Teso Sub-Region. The problem is further compounded by village local council leaders majority cannot read and write and yet they are peoples elected representatives;
  • Political Representation: There is increased perception by local people in the Teso Sub-Region that local governments are mere appendages of the central government and that most politicians get into office principally to help themselves to public resources and privileges;
  • Limited Stakeholders Participation, majority of parents, worst in most rural settings many parents have given up , there is no parental and Childhood Bonding ,break down in moral and family social values children are left alone and sent to schools without any relevant scholastic materials in the end , this has contributed to bigger percentages of early school dropout rates in young boys and girls ,boys going to play in the trading centres, gambling, sports betting ,fishing for those near the landing sites like Serere District, smoking , drinking and stealing and girls get early pregnancies;
  • High incidences and cases of Gender Based Violence, Domestic Violence, Sexual Violence , human rights violations and abuses , high disease burdens –HIV/AIDS & Hepatitis B virus in many households in the Teso Sub-Region, men live polygamous lives, they have abandoned their spouses –women and children and majority of households in the Teso sub-region now live in the deprivation trap of Poverty;
  • Land conflicts, Grabbing of land & Sell , serious problem in Teso sub-region, partly contributed by high population growth rate, many young people are producing , yet they are still dependent on their parents , many have no stable household incomes to sustain their livelihoods and welfare , it is a big problem in the Sub-Region if not mitigated ,will lead to a calamity in nearby future;
  • Many of the above incidences have chronically and negatively weakened socio-economic development in the Teso Sub-Region, major sectors like Health and Education are weak, this have greatly and largely contributed to poor Education Performance in the Teso Sub-Region and needs to be reversed and revitalised through strategies identified in this proposal.

SAF-Teso location and contacts:
Plot 99 Camp Swahili Soroti-Moroto Road
Northern Division, Soroti Municipality
P.O. Box 684 Soroti Uganda, East Africa
Tel: +256 772 844 459 /+256 772 854 991/+ 256-701-929754.
Email: safteso@gmail.com/shineafricaministries@gmail.com