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Title: Building peace through land access and food security in the Nakivale Refugee Settlement, Uganda
Authors: Turyamureeba, Robert 
Keywords: Refugee;Settlement;Nakivale;Food security;Land conflicts
Issue Date: 2017
This study was conducted between November 2015 and March 2016 in Nakivale Refugee Settlement, one of the oldest and largest refugee settlements in Africa. The objectives of the study were to determine the forms and causes of land conflicts in the refugee settlement; to establish the relationship between land conflicts and food security in the Settlement; to identify the strategies refugees adopt to cope with land shortage and food insecurity problems in the Settlement; to establish the residents’ perceptions of the effectiveness of interventions aimed at mitigating land conflicts and enhancing food security in the Settlement and its host communities. Interest in the study arose out of the reported persistence of food insecurity and land conflicts despite efforts to ensure food security and restore peace and security in the refugee settlement and the host communities. The study used exploratory, analytical and descriptive research designs to obtain qualitative primary data. Secondary data was obtained through documentary review. Primary data was collected using interviews, focus group discussion and observation. The study found that land conflicts involve the destruction of crops, livestock and even human lives and they sometimes culminate in costly legal battles in courts of law. They pit the Settlement Commandant against Ugandans in the Settlement, pastoralists against cultivators, pastoralists against pastoralists, cultivators against cultivators, refugees against Ugandans and refugees against refugees. The conflicts also oppose host communities against refugees, conservationists against encroachers on protected land and Ugandans in the Settlement against the government. The study also found the causes to be land-grabbing and fraudulent acquisition of, or claims on, land by unscrupulous people, encroachment on others’ land and protected land, high population growth, the presence of vacant land in the Settlement, competition over increasingly scarce land by cultivators and pastoralists, ambiguous settlement boundaries, contested land ownership, jealousy and antipathy. The study further established that there is a strong positive relationship between land conflicts and food insecurity. Violent land conflicts lead to the maiming and death of farmers, destruction of crops and livestock and deterrence of potential agricultural investors from investing in agriculture, thus lowering food production and increasing food insecurity. Land conflicts also render disputed land idle and therefore unproductive, leading to reduced food production; and, within families, land conflicts lead to land fragmentation which leads to reduced food production and increased food scarcity. Regarding refugee coping mechanisms, the study found that refugees in Nakivale resorted to both positive and negative coping mechanisms. Positive coping mechanisms include establishing small businesses, rural-urban migration, farming, education and resettlement, intermarriage, paid employment, and psychosocial support. Others were: borrowing money, casual labour, networking, remittances, spirituality and religion. Negative mechanisms include: cheating the system and self-integration, prostitution, early marriage, drug abuse, theft and robbery. The study also found that interventions in land conflicts in the Settlement were unsuccessful due to corruption and limited involvement of the beneficiaries. The challenges of implementing refugee policy in the Settlement were identified as limited funding, inadequate coordination and consultation between the district and settlement authorities, xenophobia and an increasing refugee population with insatiable demands. The study recommends the following: demarcation of the boundaries of the Settlement; relocation of some refugees to other settlements in the country; housing scheme for both refugees and nationals in the Settlement to enable everyone to live decently; affordable loans for both refugees and Nationals in the Settlement; introduction of plot numbers to resolve land conflicts among refugees; a structural plan for the Settlement; mechanization of agriculture in the Settlement and increased provision of farming inputs, such as fertilisers to all farmers in the Settlement; coordinated and participatory planning between settlement and district authorities, involving refugees and Nationals.
Submitted in fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy in Public Administration: Peace Studies, Durban University of Technology, Durban, South Africa, 2017.
Appears in Collections:Theses and dissertations (Management Sciences)

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