Renegotiating the 'ideal' society

Gender in peacebuilding in Uganda

This study is one of four country studies contributing to the second phase of a three-year research project on gender in peacebuilding being conducted by International Alert.

Alert’s understanding of ‘gender’ is that both men and women lead gendered lives, coloured by age, class and other identities, and that these gender relations are shaped by the political, socio-economic and cultural dimensions of their specific contexts. Gender relations vary from one context to another. Alert describes gender as ‘relational’, because masculine and female identities are created in relationship with each other, within the context of the whole society.

Research in this second phase explores how a gender analysis, emphasising the ‘relational’ nature of gender, can shine light on four peacebuilding themes. These are: the economic and livelihoods dimensions of peacebuilding; violence and its many manifestations and the interconnections between them: inter-generational conflict and age–sex dynamics; and access to justice.

A review of the conflict context of Uganda demonstrates that, despite the establishment of the National Resistance Movement (NRM) as the national government in 1986, and the relative stability that followed it, unrest continues in peripheral parts of the country and, increasingly, in national-level politics. The discovery and exploration of oil reserves in Uganda in 2006 have begun to generate political problems both nationally and in the communities directly affected. Moreover, Uganda has contributed to, and has been impacted in various ways by, conflicts beyond its borders: it receives large numbers of refugees from neighbouring countries, mainly from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). While in the recent past Uganda has been supported by the donor community, in 2012 donors suspended approximately US$300 million in promised aid, because of concerns about corruption, political repression and human rights abuses.

A summary of our findings from Uganda and three other countries (Burundi, Colombia and Nepal) are available in our report, Re-thinking gender in peacebuilding.