Livelihood Strategies in a Context of Chronic Conflict - The Case of Kapelebyong Sub-County, Eastern Uganda
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The livelihoods of people in Kapelebyong Sub-County in Eastern Uganda have been severely affected by insecurity during the last 27 years. This thesis assesses the livelihood strategies currently employed by Internally Displaced Persons in three camps in the sub county, and the effects of insecurity on the livelihood strategies that people pursue. Further, it looks at the environmental and sociocultural consequences of the insecurity and encampment, with particular emphasis on gender. Lastly, the study assesses the relationship between the livelihood strategies employed by the IDPs and the interventions by NGOs and government agencies. The sustainable livelihoods framework is the theoretical framework which has been the point of departure in collecting and analyzing the data. However, this framework does not adequately address the special needs of a population that has lived with chronic conflict for almost three decades. In addition to the sustainable livelihoods framework, the thesis discusses chronic conflict and protracted internal displacement in order to present a more accurate way of understanding the situation of the people in Kapelebyong. Fieldwork was carried out in Kapelebyong Sub-County in January and February 2007. A qualitative research methodology is used, with emphasis on household interviews, group discussions, key informant interviews and observation. The study finds that all respondents have lost important assets due to insecurity and displacement, and have restricted access to land, which is their most important productive asset. The loss of assets has resulted in high levels of poverty and food insecurity. Insecurity and encampment has led to sociocultural changes in the society, especially in regard to gender relations and family issues. A few NGOs work in the area with different projects designed to help the IDPs improve their livelihoods. These projects are generally seen as beneficial by the communities, but their scope is limited. The government is responsible for education, health care and security. However, the quality of these services is poor, and thus the population is left to their own devices in order to secure quality health care and education. The constant security threat leads to a very uncertain situation, and the IDPs are not able to utilize their assets effectively. Vulnerability of the asset base as a result of chronic insecurity is one of the major challenges facing the IDPs in Kapelebyong. As a result of this, people have started employing livelihood strategies which were non-existent or rare earlier. This has led to quite dramatic changes, especially with regard to gender roles. To understand sociocultural change as a result of protracted displacement and chronic conflict is important in order to understand the livelihood strategies available to people. This is an aspect which is rarely discussed in the literature on livelihoods, but which is of major importance in the study area.
Master's Thesis in Development Management - Agder University College, 2007
PublisherHøgskolen i Agder
Agder University College