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Title: Reflection in action : reducing sexual and gender-based violence against women in Kyaka II Refugee settlement, Uganda
Authors: Atuhaire, Pearl Karuhanga 
Issue Date: Aug-2018
Sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV) against women in post-conflict settings is prevalent, but continues to be marginalised. While humanitarian agencies and the international community have made significant progress in trying to address SGBV, it is still prevalent in many post-conflict settings, including in Kyaka II Refugee Settlement in Uganda. Correspondingly, there is a dearth of scholarly research on SGBV against refugee women in post-conflict settings, specifically in refugee settlements and camps. This obscures evidence and hinders possible interventions against SGBV. As such, refugee women suffer a double jeopardy of SGBV: firstly as women and secondly as refugees. That is why the main objective of this study was to explore the continum of SGBV in Kyaka II Refugee Settlement, by examining the causes of SGBV and the consequences it had on women and girl refugees. In order to achieve this objective, an action research design was applied through an intervention project that was formulated to provide sustainable solutions to SGBV in Kyaka II Refugee Settlement.

This research was conceived as participatory action research (AR) involving meaningful participation of both refugee women and men in formulating an empowerment project aimed at reducing SGBV in Kyaka II Refugee Settlement. Qualitative data collection methods were employed in a methodological triangulation framework combining focus group discussion, key informant interviews and participant observation. The study was informed by three theories: the feminism theory, the ecological theory and the conflict resolution theories. The findings showed that the female refugees in Kyaka II Refugee Settlement are exposed to four main forms of SGBV: sexual violence, physical violence, socio- economic violence and psychological violence. However, my observations during this study revealed that psychological violence is the most common (yet invisible) form of violence from which the other forms of SGBV bloom.The study also revealed that male dominance entrenched in the patriarchal cultural values of Congolese refugees underscored the aforementioned forms of violence.

The intervention project, named Mume Kwa Muke, was led by refugee men and women and conducted in 5 zones within Kyaka II refugee community to reduce SGBV in the refugee settlement. The action team was composed of 14 peer educators (7 women and 7 men) who used sensitization and awareness- raising mainly through drama, songs and one-on-one engagements to change community attitudes that reinforce SGBV. The action team created multiplier effects of reaching out, there are now: meaningful partnerships as a result of peer educators reaching out to others, increased women’s involvement in decision making, an increase in both trust and reconciliation at family and community levels leading to peaceful co-existence.
Submitted in Fulfillment of the Requirements of the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy in Public Administration: Peace Studies, Durban University of Technology, Durban, South Africa, 2018.
Appears in Collections:Theses and dissertations (Management Sciences)

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