The Integrated Fund is designed to deliver concentrated long-term impact by investing in multiple initiatives in a targeted geographical area over ten years.
Our initial site for investment is the traditional Gulu district in Northern Uganda, which also encompasses the recently created districts of Amuru and Nwoya.
Gulu is a district in Northern Uganda that has suffered from decades of violence and oppression, most recently caused by the conflict between the Government of Uganda and the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) between 1986 and 2006. The LRA was responsible for killing more than 100,000 people and abducting an estimated 30,000 children who were forced to become wives and soldiers. In 1996, approximately 2 million people were displaced from their homes and went to live in IDP camps, where they lived for over a decade, dependent on the government for food and shelter.
In 2006 a cessation of hostilities agreement was reached between the LRA and the Ugandan government. By 2008 people began to return home to rebuild their lives and communities, and Gulu city is re-emerging as a bustling hub along the trade route to South Sudan. However, the post-conflict community bears a legacy of interrupted education, loss of practical agricultural knowledge, and psychological trauma. Within this context, we are focused on seeing individuals healed, local businesses and organizations strengthened, and communities restored.
The Integrated Fund for Gulu invests in local people and local organizations with a goal to bring about long-term sustainable change in the region.
The Integrated Fund selected Gulu as an investment site because the district has:
High Impact Potential.
The burgeoning number of small- and medium-sized enterprises (SME) in Gulu provides an opportunity for small investments to have significant impact in assisting the growth of a resurgent economy. The development of SME capacity and resilience will increase stability for the local economy and create jobs for the large unemployed youth population.
Exceptional Growth Opportunities.
Gulu is located in Northern Uganda, within reasonable proximity to South Sudan. As security for both Uganda and South Sudan has increased, so has cross-border trade via the Gulu-Nimule Road, making South Sudan the largest recipient of Ugandan exports at this time. This favorable trade arrangement presents particular opportunities for growth in the agriculture and business sectors in Gulu—which in turn creates job opportunities and disposable income to fuel the economy overall.
Conducive Political Environment.
The local government in Gulu is broadly supportive of development activities and creative ideas to bring about growth. They are willing to collaborate as appropriate with organizations to meet shared goals.
Concurrent Multi-Sector Development.
Gulu presents an ideal opportunity to implement the multi-sector approach to development, as all sectors need to be rebuilt simultaneously in the aftermath of war. Our strategic initiatives will be targeted within the business, agriculture, mental health, and education sectors.