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Peacebuilding and Education - Uganda

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Since 2005, when the Lord’s Resistance Army ceased operations in Uganda, the country has seen a period of relative stability, gains in peace-consolidation, and progress in meeting its Millennium Development Goals. However, the effects of decades of violence on resilience, social cohesion, and levels of equality among various sectors of the population are still poorly understood. Moreover, education is assumed to play a critical role in the promotion of peacebuilding goals, but these assumptions are rarely tested. In Uganda, as in many post-conflict countries, regional disparities in educational experiences, resilience and social cohesion in the population have not been scrutinized.

This baseline study to measure resilience and social cohesion, administered in partnership between UNICEF and the Harvard Humanitarian Initiative of Harvard University, was designed to fill these gaps. Specifically, it looked at five dimensions of social cohesion: 1) trust, 2) social relationships, 3) civic and social participation, 4) inclusion and attitudes toward social processes and services, and 5) constructive dispute resolution and their relationship to educational experiences.

Key findings suggest strengths that can be leveraged through education sector interventions to improve social cohesion, as well as areas of improvement. For instance, since respondents reported relatively high levels of comfort in interacting with people from other religious, political, and ethnic groups, there is a positive foundation of inter-community interaction upon which greater levels of trust can be built. The overall low social cohesion scores and diversity scores, however, suggest that there is room for improvement, including promoting respect for diversity within Ugandan classrooms.

The study is based on a survey conducted among a random sample of 2,079 randomly selected adult residents of Uganda.

Pham PN, Vinck P, Gibbons N (2015). Population-Based Survey on Peace and Education: Uganda. UNICEF, Harvard Humanitarian Initiative.

The results of this study are also presented in an interactive map format here.