In November 2016, a policy brief was launched by the Justice and Reconciliation Project (JRP) and the Women’s Initiatives for Gender Justice on the reintegration of children born of war. The policy brief highlights the challenges for women who have returned to their communities after being abducted and enslaved by the LRA and the difficulties they face with their children, born as a result of rape. The policy emphasises the important role of cultural leaders in the reintegration process for female returnees and their children and provides recommendations to enhance the success of reintegration processes.
The policy emerged out of two cultural dialogues hosted by JRP and the Women’s Initiatives for Gender Justice in 2016. The dialogues involved 31 local cultural leaders from four conflict-affected sub-regions of northern Uganda. Facilitated by JRP, these dialogues aimed to build awareness of the reintegration challenges faced by women returning from LRA captivity and their children born of war. The dialogues also solicited the support and leadership of the cultural leaders in order to reduce the discrimination experienced by many of the female returnees and their children and ensure more effective reintegration programmes.
Female returnees face many challenges including, victim blaming and stigmatization, uncertain livelihoods, limited access to housing, food security and vocational training opportunities to be able to rebuild their lives. In turn, their children also face issues around cultural identity and they are denied access to land and the ability to inherit unless they are acknowledged by the paternal family. Cultural leaders play a vital role in ensuring that these challenges are addressed.
Read the full policy brief here.