The challenges facing resettlement process of the internally displaced people in Northern Uganda: A case study of Lira District (2007-2010)
Opolo, Emmanuel Peace
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For the last two decades, the population of Northern Uganda lived in the IDP camps as a result of the long civil war between the government of Uganda and the LRA rebels. Approximately, two million people were displaced by 2006. These posed serious institutional challenges to the government of Uganda as services couldn’t be effectively and efficiently delivered. However, by 2008, about eighty percent of the IDPs had returned home voluntarily. This study examined challenges faced in the resettlement process of the IDPs and to examined how the resettlement process was handled and made recommendations. The study was limited in Lira district in Northern Uganda from 2007 to 2010. The study adopted cross sectional survey method where community members, Local council leaders, religious leaders and NGO staffs operating in the area were interviewed using structured questionnaire. The district technical team (the civil servants) and members of the District Security committee were also interviewed. The basis of the methodology was to comprehensively gather the concerns and perceptions of all the stakeholders in the district. The Uganda’s national IDP policy enabled the GoU to address the major concerns of all the stakeholders in collaboration with development partners which provided the necessary resettlement packages as well as handling rehabilitation and repairs of major infrastructures to aid the returning communities. Several programmes to address the identified challenges like land shortage and wetland encroachment were developed and poverty related interventions through programmes like NAADs, PRDP and NUREP have all kicked off successfully. Despite all these contributions, a cross section of the IDPs such as the youths, the elderly, and orphans have expressed difficulties to return home citing different reasons ranging from socio-economic, security and welfare. There existed other strategic problems like poor monitoring, corruption, cooperation, coordination and communication among stakeholders. The study recommended policy prioritization of the resettlement programme, psychological rehabilitation, trauma healing and reconciliation and finally promotion of Public Private Partnerships to improve quality of life and livelihoods.