The importance of post-conflict socio-cultural community education programmes: a case study from northern Uganda

Colette Harris

Research output: Working paper

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Using data from a programme in northern Uganda, this article argues psycho-social education supports post-conflict reconstruction better than humanitarian aid or materialistically-focused projects. The programme used post-Freirian, discovery-based pedagogies focusing on topics chosen by participants: family and community relations, gender power relations, education, forced sex, and reintegration of rebel fighters. It worked for a year with groups of men, women, male and female youths, its major focus being on deconstructing local gender identities. The programme’s impact was considerable: greater egalitarianism within families along with warmer relationships, increased community integration, significantly reduced levels of violence, and greater responsibility in sexual relations. Improved economic well-being was a tangential additional benefit. I suggest this approach can significantly reduce the likelihood of future conflict. This has important implications for the international community to consider when drawing up policies for support in post-conflict settings. More attention needs to be given to grass-roots work rather than macro-level interventions as the former can be far more efficacious and even prevent populations following radical leaders. Thus in the long-term it is also more cost-effective, although this clashes with contemporary neoliberal ideology.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationBrighton, Sussex
Number of pages25
Publication statusPublished - 2012

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