Reflecting on our work

As the year comes to an end, we at JRP find ourselves reflecting on both our accomplishments and the challenges we have faced in the past twelve months. We are also looking to the future: what will we do next year? How can we improve our work and what solutions can we find to the challenges we have faced this year? Recently, we held our inaugural Dissemination Forum in Gulu where we launched five of our most recent reports and Field Notes. Attended by local traditional and religious leaders, victims’ group representatives, civil society members and members of the media, the purpose of the Dissemination Forum was to provide a medium for the people for whom our reports are written to share their opinions on the reports and discuss the issues that are raised in them. We also used the opportunity to reflect on whether the reports are indeed serving their intended purpose – that is, to be a voice for victims of conflict and to share ideas about how to improve them.

Each report was presented in detail by researchers from the Community Documentation department, presentations which included discussions on the background and purpose of the reports, their research methodology, the findings that were made and the recommendations to stakeholders contained. Following the presentations, the participants in the Forum shared their views on each report. Many participants talked about the value of documenting victim centred views and experiences, while some emphasised the importance of policy makers receiving the content of the reports and initiatives of JRP and other CSOs.

“This forum should look at how we can get the state to understand that they have the responsibility,” one participant suggested. “[Otherwise] we may end up providing a lot of information without reaching the government.”

At the event, we screened a documentary entitled “The Guns May Be Silent, But the Struggle Continues” which examines the struggles that continue to be faced by communities affected by conflict in the Teso and Acholi sub-regions. Specifically, the documentary aims to address some of the most prominent transitional justice advocacy points that victims in Northern Uganda continue to face. The piece will be available to the public in the upcoming months.

The five reports we launched were:

The Day They Came: Recounting the LRA’s Invasion of Teso Sub-Region through Obalanga Sub-County in 2003. This report explores the impacts of the LRA incursion into Teso sub-region using case studies and victims’ testimonies from the sub‐county of Obalanga in Amuria district. This report can be accessed here.

When a Gunman Speaks, You Listen: Victims’ Experiences and Memories of Conflict in Palabek Sub-County, Lamwo District. This report focuses on Palabek’s history from 1986 to the present based on victims’ testimonies and information provided by interviewees. This report can be accessed here.

Paying Back What Belongs to Us: Victims’ Groups in Northern Uganda and their Quests for Reparation. This report serves to illuminate the current state, emergence and development of different victims’ groups and associations throughout the greater north of Uganda and to highlight their activities and demands. This report can be accessed here.

Gender and Generation in Acholi Traditional Justice Mechanisms: This report seeks to understand how traditional ceremonies are helpful to women and youth, and whether such ceremonies are relevant to the unique concerns women and youth face in post-conflict recovery. This report can be accessed here.

The Uganda Reconciliation Barometer 2012: With the Transitional Justice Monitoring Survey as its tool, the UG Reconciliation Barometer measures the attitudes and perceptions of Ugandans in the north on critical justice and reconciliation issues. This report can be accessed here.

See pictures of the Dissemination Forum on the 15 of November 2012 below.