Indigenous Coping Mechanisms and Conflict Management in Karamoja

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					       Indigenous Coping Mechanisms and
Conflict Management in Karamoja, Uganda

                              Marlieke Kieboom
                                  MA candidate
    International Studies: Complex Emergencies
•   Introduction : Karamoja in distress
•   Traditional (positive) coping strategies
•   Problems
•   Modern (negative) coping strategies
•   Conflict management initiatives
•   Conclusion
Introduction: Karamoja in distress

   •   Where is Karamoja?
   •   Which problems occur?
   •   Why address Karamoja?
Introduction: Karamoja in distress
•   Where is Karamoja?
•   Which problems
•   Why address

                                     Source: UN OCHA 2008
    Traditional (positive) Coping Strategies

•    Definition “adaptation”
     “Adaptation to climate change refers to adjustment made in natural or human
     systems in response to actual or expected climate stimuli or their effects in order
     to moderate harm or make use of beneficial opportunities.” (Orindi and Eriksen

•    Definition “livelihood”
     “Livelihood comprises the capabilities, assets (including both material and
     social resources) and activities required for a means of living. It is considered
     sustainable when it can cope with and recover from stresses and shocks, and
     maintain or enhance its capabilities and assets both now and in the future, while
     not undermining the natural resource base. (UNEP 2009: 7)
    Traditional (positive) Coping Strategies

•    Mobility / dual settlement
•    Insurance by splitting stock
•    Indigenous knowledge of nature
•    Traditional elders system
•    Cattle raiding
•    Mixed crops
•    Spiritual life
Traditional (positive) Coping Strategies
Problems in Karamoja

•   Food security
•   Water security
•   Breakdown of traditional authority
•   Political and economic marginalization
•   Physical insecurity (small arms)
Problems in Karamoja
Problems in Karamoja
“ In the past there was enough rain. Whenever it rained the fields would yield all
    kinds of fruit and our mother would store lots of food in our granaries. We
    used to have plenty of boiled sorghum and porridge to eat and plenty of milk
    to drink. But now things are different. Cows are dying. The rains have
    disappeared. And when it rains these days, it just drizzles. The drizzle does not
    enable the sorghum to grow properly. The climate is unpredictable now. And
    when it does rain, it can be destructive; it sometimes causes bad floods, which
    then destroy our crops, just like last year. The drinking water that we used to
    fetch from the riverbeds can no longer be found. The riverbeds have dried up
    as well. Only hard rock is found beneath them. There is a lot of thirst; even the
    few livestock we own have so little water. I lament, ‘what can I do to address
    this thirst?’. Even if you have food to cook, you still need water to do the
    cooking. What can I do? There aren’t enough words to express the pain.”

   Karimojong woman - Oxfam Report Climate Change, 2008: 19
Modern (negative) Coping Strategies

•   Skip meal
•   Deforestation
•   School drop out
•   Intensified & commercialized cattle raiding
•   Banditry
•   Out-migration
    Vicious downward spiral
•   shock
•   negative coping
•   increased vulnerability to future shocks (i.e. reduced
    access to basic commodities such as food, health
    care and investments in livelihoods)
•   new shock
Conflict Management Initiatives:
Sustainable future for Karamoja?

•   NGO’s
    1. Conflict sensitive development / local participatory process
    2. Food provision
•   Government
    1. Disarmament (failure)
    2. Mobility restriction (failure)
    3. Disarmament and development

•   Researchers
    1. Local conflict management processes
    2. Local resource management
    3. Gender
General policy recommendations

•   Strengthen existing strategies
•   Invest in technical solutions
•   Encourage mobility
•   Involve the Karimojong, especially elders
•   Reduction of insecurity and
•   Development, economic growth
•   Develop new conflict solving mechanisms

•   Local knowledge: what is it, who owns it?
•   Local power balance: local power holders, and
    gendered problem
•   “Integrating environment and natural resources into peace
    building is no longer an option – it is a security imperative”
    (UNEP 2009)

•   Karimojong need alternative livelihood systems for the
    youth, the bandit, the herder, the family to secure
    livelihoods and prevent conflict.

•   Sustainable livelihood strategies for a sustainable and
    secure future for the Karimojong.
Thank You