Engola, Brenda, Class of 2013 – (Uganda)

Practicum Summary:

People to People Peacebuilding in Karamoja, Uganda: A case study of inter-ethnic dialogies in Moroto and Napak districts

Brenda’s study examines how effective people to people approaches have been in bringing representatives of conflicting groups together in Karamoja to interact in a safe space with the ultimate goal of peace building. The study focuses on interethnic dialogue in the Moroto and Napak districts of Karamoja and investigates the opportunities and considerations for enhancing the efficiency and impact of these interventions. The underlying causes of conflict in Karamoja include cattle raiding, the forging of alliances between clans to take advantage of other clans, and colonial and government policies that exploited or marginalized the sub-region for decades and thus hindered the region’s opportunities for growth and development. By employing qualitative data collection methods, Brenda discovered that 98% of community respondents and 94% of key informants agree that dialogue has contributed to safety, security, and peace in Karamoja. In the past three to four years, the development related issues have been increasingly featured during dialogues, encouraged by shared visions for conflict resolution, prevention, and joint decision making. In order to improve people to people practices, Brenda recommends involving women and youth to expand the likelihood of durable change at the individual and community level. In addition, various stakeholders need to become more aware of conflict and matching conflict analyses with the appropriate interventions. She points out that stakeholders could rush dialogue plans to fit within their work plans and politicians run the risk of exploiting dialogue for their political pursuits. Involving representatives from every sector of the community can help prevent exploitation. Documenting dialogues, building sustainability, involving soothsayers, and transitioning from a military-led law enforcement to civilian-led enforcement are additional recommendations to ensure the success of peace to peace conflict resolution in the years to come.