Women participation in conflict transformation in Northern Uganda : a case of women leadership in addressing land conflicts in Nwoya District
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Although not adequately documented in most peace processes, women in Northern Uganda found themselves holding together the fabric of communities affected by conflict. They became household heads, breadwinners, builders, traders, and leaders. However, the extent to which women leadership has been nurtured into the post-conflict is not well documented. Taking land conflicts as a case study, limited information was available about how women have provided leadership in the management of land conflicts. This study sought to generate information on women's leadership in post-conflict Northern Uganda. The study employed exploratory and descriptive research designs utilizing qualitative approaches to data collection. Data generated by this study was analysed manually. Some verbatim extractions were made from the transcripts that were later inserted directly into the findings. Generally, findings show that the conflict enabled space for nurturing women to take up leadership positions at different levels. At the community level, women involved in direct peace talks, mobilization of community members and a range of peace-building processes such as preparation of the reconciliation process. Women also played a pivotal role in mediating and moving forward the peace process between the LRA and the GoU (at the peak of the LRA insurgency). The spaces for women leadership have transcended to the post conflict error including on land-related issues. From the perspective of land conflicts, women leaders have directly been involved in conducting hearings of land conflicts at the local level as well as facilitating the process of making appeals and referrals to higher courts to manage grievances beyond them. They have also been at the fore; organizing community meetings for land hearings, and other reconciliation processes. Overall, it was found out that women's participation in land conflicts is linked to the trust, honesty, and impartiality exhibited by most women leaders in the community. However, findings also revealed that despite their participation, several factors still affected women leaders to effectively participate in resolving land conflicts. These included; limited knowledge of land boundaries; low levels of education and limited knowledge of land laws, and gender stereotypes: community members still look at women as an inferior group of society.