Week Seven: Conflict and Gender Roles


This week at work I attended a workshop to learn how local gender analyses can be used to assist conflict monitoring. The international NGO SaferWorld has worked together with the Uganda Land Alliance to build a tool kit for analyzing how traditional gender roles drive and control conflict. They hope that by understanding the causes of conflict they will be better able to prevent future violence and work with the communities to create sustainable peace plans. 

The tool kit was tested in the rural Ugandan district of Karamoja which is currently experiencing high levels of crime and unrest. The interveners knew going in that a lot of conflict in Karamoja is driven by land disputes and the dwindling numbers of livestock in region. The toolkit however, allowed the NGO actors to delve deeper into the nature of the conflicts because they learned that in this area most people believe that in order to be a “real man” a person must own cattle and be able to pay a full bride price and pay a tribute to his clan in cattle to be a fully recognized member of his community. Similarly to be a “real woman” a person must have received a full bride price in cattle and be married to a fully initiated man as well as doing the cooking, cleaning, home building, farming, and child care for her family. 

Because a man’s traditional role revolves around livestock the lack of cattle in the area has created increased conflict including cattle wrangles, domestic violence, and land grabbing. Hopefully by understanding what drives these conflicts peace actors in Uganda will be better able to create a sustainable solution. 

Over the weekend I stayed in Kampala and enjoyed the city with my roommates. My weekend adventures included eating crocodile, produce shopping at one of the city’s largest outdoor markets, and spending a lovely day at the pool with my roommates and friends. I am definitely going to miss the constant access to organic fresh fruits and vegetables that are available in Uganda year round. I am going to consciously spend my remaining weeks here savoring the produce as much as possible to make the most of it. 

Next week I am scheduled to travel into the field with one of SAFE’s attorneys to observe legal mediation and conflict sensitivity trainings for traditional and religious leaders in Pader and Lira districts in Northern Uganda. I am very excited to travel to a different area and be able to participate in these workshop