Kampala — France last week signed a sh1.3b agreement to boost development in Karamoja and parts of Kampala.
The grant will benefit seven projects, with one in Nakapiripirit district and six in Kampala.
Speaking at the signing ceremony, the French ambassador, Rene Forceville, said sh754m, would cater for food aid programmes in Karamoja, while sh546m, under the social development fund, would be directed at supporting destitute communities in Kampala.
Karamoja, often referred to as Uganda's "wild west", remains the poorest and most marginalised part of the country.
The World Food Programme recently warned that food insecurity in drought-prone Karamoja would worsen in 2009, due to poor harvests last September.
Forceville said funds for the Karamoja programme would be channelled through an international non-governmental organisation, Action Against Hunger, which will implement a nutritional programme in Moroto and Kaabong districts.
"It will provide supplementary feeding to 4,750 most needy children," Forceville said, adding that 20 pilot sites would be set up to facilitate "families of these children to undergo training' aimed at strengthening household food security in the region.
"Through supporting non-governmental organisations implementing needs assessment based interventions, France has always tried to address the issue of food insecurity in Karamoja," Forceville said, adding that the funds would benefit women groups and the vulnerable.
Although the bulk of the money went to civil society organisations to run projects in Kampala, part of the funds would be used to support education, water and sanitation, health and agricultural projects in Nakapiripirit district.
The agreements were signed by Forceville and representatives of the civil society organisations at the embassy in Nakasero, a Kampala suburb.