NGO Launches Toolkit To Resolve Nothern Uganda Conflicts

Written by: 

Saferworld in conjunction with Uganda Land Alliance (ULA) has launched a 73-page book dubbed gender conflict analysis toolkit which is meant to give practical guidance on how to resolve conflicts in the region.

According to Hannah Wright, the gender, peace and security adviser at Saferworld, the toolkit will be used to analyse how the ideas and norms around femininity masculinity, and land ownership do cause conflicts, and which methods can best apply in solving them, starting with Moroto District.

Also while launching a briefing paper tittled: "Gender, Land and Conflict in Moroto", at the Moroto Municipality public library on Tuesday , the project coordinator, Bettie Atyam Amaso, said the toolkit will be used to assess other different causes of conflicts and how to mitigate them in the region.

Atyam assured the residents that with the kit, conflicts in the region will this time be solved because it was successfully tested in Nadu et and Rupa sub-counties in Moroto District and the results were promising. She added that prior to its launch , there was also a six-day research conducted in March which orchestrated its iniatial testing with funds from Irish Aid - a Non-Governmental Organization.

According to Juliana Baguma, One of the researchers, the move to end conflicts is meant for six districts in Northern Uganda which include; Amuru, Adjumani, Nwoya, Nebbi, Otuke and Moroto. He said that findings from the research show "land is the leading cause of gender conflict in Moroto which worsens with the arrival of mining companies such as DAO Marble Limited."
According to him, the explaination to this is that “pressure on land use in Moroto has increased markedly due to the improvement in the security levels that has has favoured investment in the place.” People at the launch agreed that cattle have ceased to be the main cause of violent conflicts in Karamaoja largely due to disarmament.

Sophie Nangiro, the coordinator for Karamoja women in mining stated that: “Land is the most important thing in one's life, and it means we do not control our needs in life if there is no responsibility over land."
Currently, the Karimojong are criticising the government because they say it gazetted some land in the region, which supposedly belongs to them, and they do not know the reason for this. This coupled with mining companies' 'dishonest acts' of land grabbing, has fueled tension between the local people and their leaders. The leaders are accused facilitating the selling of communally owned land to different businessmen.

John Kennedy Okewling, a surveyor from the Ministry of energy and mineral works pointed out the involvement of the elite class in selling off the land. He reffered to the current heated conflict between DAO Marble company limited and the community in Rata, to say: "The educated people manipulated the locals with documents including the Memorandum of Understanding and compelled them to sign. This is partly because the local community cannot understand the outcomes of such documents... and now some of them have lost their plots of land."

He asked the leaders from the various very districts to always be cautious of such documents, and not to allow being manipulated by selfish individuals. He welcomed the kit and said he hopes to see it solve the existing conflicts hitting the region.