From cattle-raiding to growing vegetables in Uganda: Julius’ Story - GOAL Global Skip to content

From cattle-raiding to growing vegetables in Uganda: Julius’ Story


June 2, 2023 • 3 min read

The Karamoja region in the northern part of Uganda has for many years been synonymous with the sounds of gunshots echoing through some of its magnificent mountain ridges, frightening residents who are then forced to flee for their safety.

A new direction in life

Julius used to raid cattle from kraals in communities throughout Karamoja. He is a young man from Lokeriut Village, Nadungent Sub-County in Uganda who has since abandoned this lifestyle in favour of working with AgroMax, a private sector partner with GOAL Uganda’s livelihoods programme – Young Africa Works in Uganda: Markets for Youth. AgroMax is equipping youth in Karamoja with agricultural skills such as crop farming, post-harvest handling, and poultry. AgroMax is also supporting the formation of Village Savings and Loan Associations (VSLA) that encourage these youths to save and re-invest their money in profit-making ventures.

Julius, who dropped out of school to raid cattle, says he first heard about joining AgroMax from a local radio station Nanach FM. “I listened carefully to the presenter, who was talking about learning skills for planting seed varieties for food crops and trees. I then made a decision to abandon my way of life and join farming. Today I’m a change agent in my community, teaching my fellow youth on the same,’’ he says.

Supported by GOAL and Mastercard Foundation under Young Africa Works: Markets for Youth Programme, Julius was one of the 105 excited youth graduating on May 4th as lead agricultural extensionists. The graduates from the districts of Moroto, Kotido, and Abim successfully completed a six-month course at the AgroMax demonstration farm in Nadunget Sub-County, Moroto District. Prior to his training as lead agricultural extensionist, Julius and his group of 32 youths have been supported to plant vegetables like onions, eggplants, cabbages, and Sukuma Wiki, which they sell at the local market for a profit. The group is also engaged in agroforestry, planting tree species like the Nim trees and Acacia, and fruits like avocado, mangoes, and pawpaws.

Becoming a role model

Julius says they have so far registered 273 youth change agents in the villages of Lolemupal, Lokelor, Lotaruk, and Lokeriuk, who have been trained to cascade the skills to other members of the communities. After the training, the youth set up kitchen gardens in their respective homes to practically demonstrate what they have learned and are monitored by a team from Agromax. “We initially started by skilling them how to raise beds. Many of them are now able to transplant and water their crops in their gardens. It is through AgroMax and GOAL that I got the opportunity to use and share various skills. I’m now able to look after my family better as I save and borrow from our VSLA to re-invest the money, enabling me to deal with challenges like prolonged periods of drought,” he says.

The Markets for Youth Programme

The Markets for Youth Programme supports access to dignified and fulfilling work for 300,000 young people in rural Uganda, of which 210,000 are young women, 30,000 are young refugees, and 15,000 are young persons with disabilities. By May 2023, the program has reached 125,000 youth, of whom 105,000 are in work.

The Young Africa Works in Uganda: Markets for Youth programme is implemented by

together with Private Sector and Civil Society partners in partnership with