Land-related Conflicts in Acholiland, Northern Uganda: Qualitative Data from a UN Study Mapping Land Conflict, 2012-2015

Hopwood, Julian (2021). Land-related Conflicts in Acholiland, Northern Uganda: Qualitative Data from a UN Study Mapping Land Conflict, 2012-2015. [Data Collection]. Colchester, Essex: UK Data Service. 10.5255/UKDA-SN-854866

Northern Uganda experienced one of the world's most notorious instances of forced displacement during and immediately after the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) insurgency, which started around 1986 and ended on Ugandan soil in 2006. Northern Ugandan displacement was notable for its duration - in some areas for well over a decade; and for the fact that it involved the entire rural populations of the affected areas from around 2002, including all of rural Acholiland - around one million people - with a further eight hundred thousand from neighbouring communities. For the first 16 years of the conflict there was virtually no humanitarian assistance to the affected population, which only began in earnest after 2003. However for the following ten years, while the population was displaced and later, from 2007, returning to and re-establishing their homes, large amounts of international funding were spent. Aid was deployed on physical infrastructure, support for state security, education and health services, disarmament, demobilisation and reintegration (DDR) programmes, peacebuilding and transitional justice initiatives, and agricultural and other livelihoods development. Northern Uganda's was a model international intervention. There was a humanitarian phase during and immediately after the conflict, a transition phase during the return and resettlement phase, followed by development interventions to enable the war affected population to regain some of the lost ground caused by displacement and war, to help them attain the same level of development as the rest of the country. Compared to many conflict and post-conflict environments, northern Uganda's was straightforward. The security, political and logistical challenges were all manageable and the LRA conflict was of a sufficiently high public profile that funds provided by governments and international institutions were substantial. The intervention in northern Uganda was, it is reasonable to assume, done as well as these things can be done. However there has been little attempt to learn from the Ugandan experience. This research aims to correct this deficiency through understanding displacement and return through the perceptions and understandings of the people concerned. The outcome will be a series of studies that together evaluate not so much specific interventions but the lived experience of cumulative interventions in different sectors. It will look at communities' understandings of their own coping strategies and resilience; of the current state of their social capital and civil society as they interpret the notions and what has helped and hindered in the post-conflict recovery period; and of how ten years of international aid interventions, largely 'off the shelf' but sometimes attempting something more targeted, have affected their lives. In this sense the project will address humanitarian-development impunity, which is fostered by neglect - perhaps active rejection - of learning opportunities, as has been seen so far in northern Uganda. We aim to create a model for community-centred post-intervention evaluation across sectors. The research team are soon to conclude work on the Justice and Security Research Programme, which has been filling a massive knowledge gap on the experiences of ordinary people around security in Central Africa, and what are the public authorities - in practice very often not the state - which provide security services. The forced displacement programme will build on this model and this experience, seeking to understand displacement and return through the lived realities of affected people, in the process challenging the comfortable assumptions of the development industry. We predict that interventions in different sectors will emerge as positively and negatively experienced by populations in terms of their long-term outcomes, and that this learning will be disseminated in ways that can influence interventions in other post conflict settings.

Data description (abstract)

The data includes 1318 descriptions of land disputes in the Acholi Sub-region of Northern Uganda, collected as part of a UN Peacebuilding Fund project, the Land Conflict Monitoring and Mapping Tool in two rounds in March and September 2012. Respondents were local dispute mediation actors. Some of this data, where one or both parties to a conflict were women, was up-dated through phone interviews in January 2014, with the rest up-dated through phone interviews in August-September 2015. Interviews were mainly conducted in Luo and recorded in English. The final round of up-dating was analysed and the data cleaned under the ESRC Trajectories of Displacement grant in 2017.

Data creators:
Creator Name Affiliation ORCID (as URL)
Hopwood Julian London School of Economics
Sponsors: Economic and Social Research Council
Grant reference: ES/P004911/1
Topic classification: Society and culture
Project title: Trajectories of displacement: A multi-disciplinary exploration into return and social repair after mass displacement in northern Uganda
Grant holders: Professor Tim Allen, Dr Holly Porter, Dr Anna Macdonald
Project dates:
1 November 201631 March 2019
Date published: 07 May 2021 18:39
Last modified: 07 May 2021 18:39

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