SDG 16 in Review: more accountable security provision in the Borderlands of Uganda

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Since 1999, Danish Refugee Council (DRC)/Danish Demining Group (DDG) has worked with refugees and internally displaced people (IDPs) in Uganda. Since 2010 DDG implemented a Community Safety Project in Karamoja with the aim of reducing armed violence and improving inter-community relationships. In Karamoja, DDG advocates for programs designed for early recovery rather than addressing the “permanent emergency”. The aim is to address the conflict and violence through careful community-led campaigns to change attitudes and behaviour, which in turn leads to alternative livelihood solutions.

To enhance cooperation between security providers and communities and create a conducive environment for information sharing and prevention of violence, DDG has initiated monthly regular meetings at sub-county level between the parties to discuss and resolve critical issues.

“It was widely expressed by security providers that they felt they had developed a better understanding of their roles and responsibilities through the trainings. They remarked that the training provided through the cross-border project had provided participants with the necessary skills to more effectively identify and manage security and conflict issues and to respond in a sensitive and culturally appropriate manner. As such they felt better equipped to address and respond to cross-border security threats. This was also echoed by community members and local authorities in Uganda, who reported significant improvements in the behaviour of security providers towards community members and in their ability to respond to cross-border security issues.”
CSSF-funded evaluation developed by Altai, 2018

The meetings have managed to bring civic and military stakeholders together to discuss contentious issues such as mistreatment of community members, theft during cordon and search operations, general abuse, in addition to insufficient cooperation from communities in identifying criminal elements among them. Impact assessments (2012 and 2015) indicate that, gradually, the connection between security providers and communities is changing from one that was mainly characterised by fear and intimidation to a more cooperative relationship based on dialogue.

The full edition of the SDG 16 in Review: SSR Edition is available here.