Post-conflict humanitarian assistance in northern Uganda

The social work role

Authored by: Victoria Flavia Namuggala , David Kinyumu Katende

The Handbook of Social Work and Social Development in Africa

Print publication date:  November  2016
Online publication date:  October  2016

Print ISBN: 9781472468512
eBook ISBN: 9781315557359
Adobe ISBN: 9781317029380

10.4324/9781315557359.ch26

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Abstract

Since 2008, the formerly displaced populations of northern Uganda have been returning home to communities unprepared for the psychosocial and mental health implications of their displacement. However, humanitarian development agencies have tended to approach their return as a technical matter and focused on measurable outcomes. Rather than see returnees as participants in a community recovery process, they have treated them as ‘passive victims’ (Dolan, 2009, p. 25). Research on reintegration has tended to concentrate almost exclusively on males. As a consequence, programs and policy frameworks have tended to adopt gender-biased research findings, thus perpetuating the cycle of marginalisation of women and young girls in post-recovery programs (Annan, Blattman, Mazurana, & Carlson, 2011; McKay, 2004). Treating them as victims rather than survivors undermines their agency and resilience. While women are mourning their own losses, they continue to struggle to care for children, who – more often than not – have been orphaned or sexually abused, as well as elderly and disabled members within their families. This chapter focuses on the lasting impacts of the conflict in northern Uganda and the role of gender, age, and marital and parenthood status on access to, and use of, humanitarian assistance.

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