Civil Peace Service: Promotion of peacebuilding measures in north-eastern Uganda
Title: Civil Peace Service: Support for the participatory transformation of land conflicts in Northern Uganda
Commissioned by: German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)
Overall term: 2015 to 2022
In many parts of Africa, the majority of people rely heavily on owning a plot of land in order to make a living. This is also the case in Uganda. However, land ownership and land use are increasingly subjects of dispute. Eighty per cent of current court proceedings in Uganda relate to land conflicts.
Governmental and traditional institutions are unable to cope with this problem, and in some cases are actually involved in the conflicts. The victims of these developments are the poor, particularly women and children, and more specifically, widows and orphans. Land grabbing and related disputes are increasing even within families.
In Teso, Karamoja and Acholi, more than 90 per cent of the land is shaped by a traditional land management system that is only compatible with the formal land management system to a limited extent. The many years of conflict and corruption at all levels have weakened the institutions involved in land management. The increasing demand for land is triggered by huge population growth, and there are conflicts of interest between the population and private investors as well as the government; private investors are interested in exploiting mineral resources, while the government has declared more than 40 per cent of the total area of Karamoja as nature conservation areas. There are also repeated confrontations between herders and farmers regarding access to grazing land and water supply. Armed livestock thefts continue to be a security issue in Karamoja.
To make matters worse, the representatives of institutions have little knowledge and insufficient capacities to manage conflicts peacefully. The population also knows little about land rights and land management.
In Teso, Karamoja and Acholi, local interest groups work together to prevent land conflicts and transform existing conflicts related to land and land use peacefully. They are informed about traditional and formal land law and land management and use this knowledge to secure their land rights and avoid internal conflicts.
Since 2014, the Civil Peace Service (CPS) has been supporting and coordinating 15 interest groups in Teso, Karamoja and more recently Acholi, which are working on various dimensions of land conflicts. National authorities, local politicians, traditional leaders, international and national non-governmental organisations, and local initiatives are represented in these interest groups. The aim of the networks is to jointly identify the key land conflicts and to pinpoint and implement options for resolving these conflicts. To complement the constant exchange in fixed working groups, annual meetings of the various interest groups are organised to discuss current developments in detail and develop joint intervention strategies. In 2019 around 250 people from the local, regional, national and international level attended these meeting.
The CPS provides technical, financial and logistical support for the multi-stakeholder process. The focus is on establishing networks and advising various stakeholders, with special attention to traditional leaders. The overall aim is to encourage exchange of information on land issues, and to build up local capacities and resources for joint and non-violent conflict resolution. Joint lobbying and advocacy activities that increase the effectiveness of the initiatives are also supported and initiated.
- Thirteen interest groups, made up of representatives of governmental, traditional and civil-society fields, have been formed based on various types of land conflict and have developed long-term strategic plans.
- More than 200 representatives of these interest groups are participating in a multi-stakeholder process for the prevention and non-violent resolution of land conflicts in Teso and Karamoja.
- Training measures are strengthening the knowledge and skills of more than 200 participants in the area of peaceful conflict management.
- Information and awareness-raising campaigns have provided information on women’s land rights to more than 5,000 people, and training measures have increased more than 800 stakeholders’ knowledge of land law and land management with a particular focus on women's land rights.
- Women’s rights to land have been firmly anchored in traditional land law through the provision of political advice for traditional leaders.
- As a result of consultations with more than 500 representatives of the population from all districts of Karamoja, maps of grazing land and the associated conflicts have been created.
- More than five land conflicts in the region have been resolved.
- Land border conflicts between and within families in 18 villages have been resolved with the assistance of mediation and by planting border trees.