What's the most dangerous animal in northern Uganda?
The cow. A humble, docile creature. Here in Karamoja they're extremely dangerous to be around. Especially for children.
But it's not the cattle that are deadly. It's the raiders who come to steal them.
In this part of northern Uganda, cows aren't just a source of food and milk. They're also the local currency, and as the number of them dwindles, their value increases.
The cows are worth more than the children who are made to risk their lives to protect them.
Conflict between rival tribes has existed for years. They used to fight each other with bows and arrows.
Now it's AK47s.
Young men armed with guns raid their rivals' kraals (small cattle ranches) to steal their cows. Unarmed children are given the unenviable task of sleeping in the kraals with the cattle to protect them at night.
Guess who gets caught in the crossfire when the bullets start flying...
The Ugandan army does what it can to protect the kraals, but a cattle raider is an esteemed role in Karamajong culture and the more cows he steals and the more people he kills – the more he is respected.
We’re on the ground there, helping to get kids out of kraals and into the classroom. And we’re promoting education as a way for families to give children like Bena a better future. Check out the links below to find out more...