Returning home: children’s perspectives on reintegration: a case study of children abducted by the Lord’s Resistance Army in Teso, eastern Uganda
The study concedes to having certain limitations. For example, the sample included only three girls who returned with children born as a result of their abduction. It did not attempt to ascertain systematically the extent of sexual violence suffered by either girls or boys, believing that focus groups facilitated by skillful and sympathetic adults would enable the children to discuss matters important to them. In addition, the conclusions of this report are based on a relatively small sample of children, and the emphasis is on their views and perceptions rather than, for example, those of their families and communities. However, the research covers the views of one hundred and sixteen children and youth abducted by the LRA in 2003 from what is today called the Amuria district in the Teso region, eastern Uganda.
Key points raised from this document include:
- children gave moving accounts of their experiences both while they were abducted and on their return home. There is no doubt that their horrific experiences during captivity had profound and long-lasting consequences, the implications of which need consideration
- girls included in the study confirmed what is now generally accepted, namely that girls have particular needs relating to their experiences which need to be taken into account in reintegration programmes
- community acceptance is vital to the psychosocial well-being of all children – both boys and girls. Consideration will need to be given as to how best to foster community acceptance of children in such a way as to minimise gender discrimination
- future reintegration program planners seeking to foster the successful reintegration of such returnees will face the difficult task of providing varied and appropriate care for children whose needs appear to differ according to their particular experiences in the bush, their age and gender.