Livelihoods, basic services and social protection in northern Uganda and Karamoja

Livelihoods, basic services and social protection in northern Uganda and Karamoja

Post-conflict northern Uganda is a rich environment for research on basic services and social protection provisions

The effects of three decades of violence on the populations of Uganda’s Greater North have been immense, and one challenge lies in identifying what policies and programmes can help these populations recover and adapt their livelihoods in a post-conflict environment. The overall objective of this evidence paper is to help pinpoint strategic opportunities for future research on how best to promote livelihood security and access to services for conflict-affected populations in Uganda’s Greater North.

The paper illustrates that more targeted livelihood support and basic service and social protection provision is likely to be necessary to overcome the effects of nearly 20 years of war, displacement, abduction and social fabric destruction. In this sense, it notes that Karamoja (a north eastern district) exhibits the country’s lowest human development indicators, while livelihoods are transitioning more and more away from pastoralism.

The document notes that the government, aid agencies and the people are making efforts to re-build the affected livelihoods, but their targeting emphasis is frequently moving from vulnerable populations towards ‘viable’ groups.

Conclusions contain:

  • the post-conflict environment in northern Uganda provides a rich and conducive environment for further research and assessment of livelihood promotion and basic services and social protection provision
  • one clear area for further research relates to the still unanswered questions about livelihood recovery, access to services and social protection in conflict-affected areas
  • another involves simply tracking the extent to which aid comprises a component of consumption, and presumably this can be investigated retrospectively
  • examining the assumption that unconditional social protection transfers run the same risks as long-term humanitarian assistance would help addressing the ‘vulnerability vs. viability’ issue
  • there is little evidence on the private sector in conflict-affected areas of Uganda, and a legitimate question remains as to whether strengthening private sector actors genuinely serves the interests of vulnerable groups