Menu ENN Search

Population movement as a livelihood strategy in northern Uganda

Summary of published research 1

Cattle in Agoro, Uganda

In March and April 2006, a research team from Tufts University's Feinstein International Centre carried out a study on livelihoods and human security in Kitgum district in Northern Uganda. The three areas included were the Orom trading centre/IDP (internally displaced people) camp and surrounding parishes; the Agoro trading centre/ IDP camp and nearby villages; and Labuje IDP camp and Pager village. The study found a high rate of movement between internal displacement camps and semi-settled villages. The most commonly cited reason for moving was to gain better access to land to grow crops, collect natural resources and raise livestock. The two other main reasons were to move out of the camps in search of better living conditions and to search for greater independence and self-reliance. The study found that people had many compelling reasons to remain outside the camps, but many maintained a presence in the camps for at least part of the time. Most people returned to the camps when under threat of attack or when harassed by the military.

Specific security threats and protective responses in the semi-settled villages varied according to location, geographic features and local conditions. Three types of protective strategy took place. The first is demonstrated by villagers in Orom, who operated their own protection force consisting of armed men and adolescent males. They protected livestock and food stores at night, provided security for people walking to the trading centre, acted as sentries in the fields and in some villages accompanied women on traditionally female-specific tasks, like collecting water and firewood. A second strategy involved movement. For example, in four villages in a parish of Orom, residents climbed the mountainside each night, sleeping under animal hides tanned to look like rocks, or pressed against the base of trees disguised as stones. A third strategy was for residents of both camps and semi-settled villages to act collectively to increase their security. For example, women and girls from the camps travelled in groups to collect firewood and wild foods, while men usually moved out in groups to make charcoal.

The Tufts team found that households in semi-settled villages were, overall, better able to achieve their livelihood objectives than those based entirely in the camps. In most cases, establishing or maintaining a presence outside of the camps, even when this is only on a daily basis, affords better land access. Land tenure is more secure, people are able to access larger plots and collective farming is the norm. This translates into improved food security. The effect of improved living conditions on children and livestock in the semi-settled villages is also pronounced.

The Tufts study concluded that people in northern Uganda are on the move, whether to decongestion camps, between semi-settled villages and camps or to original villages or nearby locales. Much of this movement is voluntary, and is part of adaptive livelihood strategies aimed at balancing livelihood objectives with security. The authors conclude that once more information on the process of decongestion and the range of factors that cause people to move from an established camp is available, organisations should follow the lead of communities themselves and seek to support those systems that facilitate improved livelihoods and better security. Ultimately these will enable people to return to their land. These systems may include voluntary movement, the division of households, re-establishing collective labour systems and communal land-holding, maintaining links to established camps and innovative protective strategies.

Show footnotes

1 Stites. E (2006). Movement as a livelihood and protective strategy in northern Uganda. Humanitarian Exchange No 36, December 2006, pp 11-14.

More like this

FEX: Documenting the humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan (2001)

By Pieternella Pieterse Pieternella Pieterse is a free-lance photojournalist. Based in Ethiopia, she travels extensively throughout eastern and central Africa. Earlier this...

FEX: Farming in Bags: Micro Gardening in Northern Uganda

By Holly Welcome Radice, Action Against Hunger-USA Holly Welcome Radice has worked as a food security officer for AAHUSA in Liberia, Uganda, and as programme co-ordinator in...

FEX: Livelihoods under siege in Dafur

Summary of unpublished study1 Burnt grain from granaries torched by the Janjaweed Never before in the history of Darfur has there been such a combination of factors causing...

FEX: Support for primary production (Special Supplement 3)

7.1 Introduction This section focuses on supporting agricultural production, in particular farming and livestock production, as livelihood strategies. Production support can...

FEX: Delivering Supplementary and Therapeutic Feeding in Darfur: coping with Insecurity

By Gwyneth Hogley Cotes, GOAL Gwyneth joined GOAL in November, 2005 as the Nutrition Coordinator for Darfur, Sudan. She has a BA in International Studies and Master of Public...

FEX: Nutrition among men and household food security in an internally displaced persons camp in Kenya

Summary of research* Location: Kenya What we know: Internally displaced persons (IDP) are vulnerable to nutrition and food insecurity. What this article adds: A 2013 study...

FEX: Rhino Camp, Uganda: A Refugee Perspective

By Grace Abu Late last year, nutritionist Grace Abu, visited the Rhino Refugee camp in Northern Uganda for a two day period to see family and friends. This article describes...

en-net: Senior Nutritionist MYAP - Uganda - Concern Worldwide

Reference: ES/SN/UG Country: Uganda Job Title: Senior Nutritionist MYAP Contract Grade: B Contract Length: 2 years Date Needed By: September 2012 New Post or Replacement:...

FEX: Micro-credit in refugee situations

Summary of published research1 Micro-credit and other types of loan programmes have not been widely attempted within refugee and internally displaced population (IDP) contexts...

FEX: Timely expansion of nutrition development activities in repose to an acute flooding emergency in Malawi

By Natasha Lelijveld, Elizabeth Molloy, Jennifer Weiss, Gwyneth Hogley Cotes Natasha Lelijveld has recently completed a nutrition research project in Blantyre, Malawi and is...

FEX: Sudan: The Perils of Aid

Edited from essay by John Ryle In the course of Sudan's long civil war it has become easy to create famine, easy both for the government and for factions in the south of the...

FEX: Participatory risk analysis and integrated interventions to increase resilience of pastoral communities in Northern Kenya

By Daniel Nyabera, Charles Matemo and Muriel Calo Daniel Nyabera is Food Security and Livelihoods Programme Manager, ACF-US, Yemen Mission. Daniel has over nine years of...

FEX: Non-food cash voucher programme for IDPs in Northern Syria

By an international NGO Written April 2014 The war in Syria is now in its third year and having displaced over four million Syrians internally - with over 2 million fleeing...

FEX: Blanket BP5 distribution to under fives in North Darfur

By Hanna Mattinen, ACF Since 2005, Hanna Mattinen has been Food Aid Advisor at the Action contre la Faim (ACF) headquarters, focusing on policy and operational issues around...

FEX: Livelihoods analysis and identifying appropriate interventions (Special Supplement 3)

3.1 Livelihoods assessment and analysis in emergencies The livelihoods framework provides a tool for analysing people's livelihoods and the impact of specific threats or shocks...

FEX: Gatekeepers in Mogadishu

Summary of report1 Summary prepared by Dina Sinigallia. Report authors: Erik Bryld and Dina Sinigallia (Tanya Copenhagen), Christine Kamau (iDC) Mogadishu Location:...

FEX: Impact of food aid on two communities in Niger

By Sarah McKune and Nicole Hood Dr Sarah McKune is the Director of Public Health Programmes at the University of Florida. She has worked in the West African Sahel since 2004,...

FEX: NRC shelter programme in Lebanon

By the Norwegian Refugee Council, Lebanon and Jordan This article represents the combined efforts of many members of the NRC teams both in Lebanon and Jordan. The arrival of...

en-net: Any CMAM program with a coverage higher than 90% in a camp setting?

The sphere standard for CMAM coverage in camps settings is >90%. I wanted to know if anybody ever heard of a program which reached this target as all the results I can see from...

FEX: Selective Feeding in War-Ravaged Northern Uganda

Mothers receiving supplementary ration By: John Moore and Mara Berkley-Mathews John Martin Moore completed training as a Registered General Nurse at National University...

Close

Reference this page

E Stites (2007). Population movement as a livelihood strategy in northern Uganda. Field Exchange 30, April 2007. p8. www.ennonline.net/fex/30/populationmovement

(ENN_2078)

Close

Download to a citation manager

The below files can be imported into your preferred reference management tool, most tools will allow you to manually import the RIS file. Endnote may required a specific filter file to be used.