Tours Company in Moroto district has resorted to using the reformed cattle
rustlers as their tour guides.
Karatunga is a social enterprise operating cultural experiences, outdoor
adventures Hiking, and Bicycle tours, and events aimed at
creating job opportunities to preserve cultural heritage and
biodiversity in Karamoja.
The company is operating in the region despite reports about insecurity and
several reformed warriors have been recruited to help in guiding the
tourists and ensure they are safe.
Theo Modo Vos, the Secretary of Karatunga Tours company says they want to
change the narratives of the warriors which people think are offensive but
instead value them in the community.
Modo Vos, said they are committed to developing local tourism that will
transform the lives of indigenous persons in the region. He also added that
using the reformed warriors as guides limits the chances of attacks from the
According to Modo Vos, they are diversifying the Karamoja tourism product by
developing a trail to make sure the local community benefits from the program.
‘’These warriors are very productive, the only option is to keep them busy and appreciate their effort, no one would think of going to the bush, and that’s
what we are doing’’ he said.
He also added that they have started skilling warriors on leadership skills,
catering, hygiene, and customer care in order to improve service delivery
and to meet the satisfaction of customers.
//Cue in ‘’we as in the tourism sector…
Cue out: “…power of tourism, it’s for everybody’’.//
Joseph Siya, a 40- year- old reformed warrior from Kotido District said he
resigned from raiding in 2007 and joined the tourism company to work as a
tourist guide, an opportunity that has helped him transform his life.
Siya says that he was a notorious warrior who could terrorize the whole region
without being disrupted by the security forces. He adds that because of his
age, he could not continue with his education but instead joined the company as a tourist
that he is paid 50,000 Shillings and 250000 shillings per day for five trips. He
says the project has really transformed his life, unlike the early days when he
was trapped in the raids that could have risked his life.
//Cue in: “I
didn’t even went to school…
Cue out’’ five trips that’s like 250.
Yakobo Jimmy Apollo, another former raider said leaving cattle raids was not
easy because he was taking care of a big family that all relied on him as a breadwinner. Apollo said he was picked
by a friend who directed him to the Karatunga company that admitted him as a
local tour guide.
Yakobo says poverty drove him to the bush and he had no other alternatives for
feeding his family apart from raiding cows which he sells to get money for
According to Yakobo, the tourism business has worked well for him because he
has established an entertainment crew of reformed warriors who always perform
traditional dances and the tourists pay them money.
He said this could earn them some money which they are using to boost their
savings for the reformed warrior savings association.
Angella Lomongin a tourist guide at Pian Upe Game Reserve and a resident of
Nakapiripirit district said tourism is now their savior because they are able
to make money from tourists who pay for their products.
Lomongin explained that when she was at the age of 15 years, her father forced
her to get married because he had no money to pay for her school fees. It’s on
this ground she ran away from home and went to stay with a friend.
Lomongin said she could try education but it wasn’t easy since there was no one
helping her with scholastic materials and this forced her out of school.
But, in 20018, Lomongin joined Karatunga tourism company where she was able to
get something to raise her family.
guiding tourists, Lomongin says she makes products like beads which they sell
to tourists and the money is put into savings.
Byaruhanga, the President of Uganda Tourism notes that Karamoja has very
important areas for tourism which include animals, the environment, and the
culture which gives a better experience for tourists coming from abroad.
more women to be trained and enrolled in the tourism business because it can
change their traditional thinking of being a warrior.
“There is a need to empower the youth who are still tender and ready to learn
and promote young women into tourism and these would get Karamoja out of
poverty’’ He said.
Byaruhanga also warned the locals to drop their traditional thinking of being
warriors and drop their traditional methods of surviving but instead tap into
‘’the area is really very good’’
Cue out ‘’so the approach is very good’’.//
Karatunga tour company has developed a project dubbed ‘’a warrior Nomad
Trail’’, to train the reformed warriors in the areas of customer care,
leadership skills, hygiene and sanitation, and training of trainers. Already 65
former raiders have been trained across all the nine districts of Karamoja.