The role of visual arts in post conflict reconstruction in Northern Uganda.
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The Lord Resistance Army (LRA) insurgences in northern Uganda affected the lives of people living in Acholi and Lango sub-regions for over two decades. During and after the war efforts were made by the Government of Uganda and different organizations to reconstruct and rehabilitate the war affected areas. There was both physical and social infrastructure reconstruction under the northern Uganda reconstruction programmes. Likewise, there was psycho-social rehabilitation of formerly abducted children and other children who greatly experienced the trauma of the war. This study focused on the role of visual arts in post conflict reconstruction of abductee children and others who were traumatized by the war. It examined how visual arts were used as a tool in the psycho-social rehabilitation of these children. It was guided by the objectives of assessing particular types of visual arts as psycho-social rehabilitation tools and their effectiveness in peace building amongst children. The concern was to determine visual arts as a methodological approach in achieving peace and training the war affected children in northern Uganda and how these drawings and writings were used. To achieve the objectives the study designed different methods and tools. The methods used included semi-structured interviews, participant observations, semi-directive focused group discussions and reviews of different writings on the LRA war. The triangulation of different approaches helped in availing a deeper insight of the effectiveness of visual arts in psycho-social rehabilitation of these children. The purpose was to follow the thinking and perspective processes of the victim children in order to understand their feelings about the war. The results identified different types of visual arts drawn plus the writings by the children expressing their feelings. It also revealed how peace building organizations in war affected areas used visual arts to make such victims to express themselves and recall their experiences of the war. This helped the children to build self-confidence, teamwork and sharing ideas. As a teaching method in schools in Uganda, the drawings and writings by these war affected children helped them in reconstructing their creativity and imagination. Results showed that visual arts as a teaching-learning approach helped a lot to reconstruct the lives of affected children. As observed by many scholars, the resulted concluded that visual arts can be useful in reconstructing the lives of war affected children. What is needed is creating public awareness.