Land is an important but sensitive resource for Ugandans: it is essential for cultural identity and for sustaining livelihoods. In northern Uganda, land offers lucrative rewards for those with purchasing power and extractive technologies. If managed fairly, land investment offers promising opportunities for peace and development. However, land ownership in Uganda has a complicated history marred by conflict and political interference. Historically borders and boundaries have been regularly changed to suit political interests, often displacing or denying peoples’ rights. Many internally displaced people, some of whom have spent over 20 years in camps as a result of the civil war, have returned home to find their land has been taken, sold and is now ‘owned’ by another person or entity. This has increased contention over land ownership, heightening tensions and violence. Customary law prevents women from owning land, which undermines women’s rights and further fuels conflict.
To prevent and resolve conflict around land rights, we work with communities, investors, civil society, local government authorities in Otuke, Amuru, Nwoya, Adjumani, Nebbi and Mityana and the Ministry of Lands, Housing and Urban Development. We promote conflict-sensitive and inclusive approaches to natural resource governance. This means bringing together representatives from these groups in a safe space for dialogue on land conflict issues. By doing this, we create links between communities and local and national-level policymakers.