Poverty and Unemployment Major Causes of Conflict in Ugandan Slums – Study

April 05, 2017

Kampala, 5 April 2017 – Poverty and unemployment are the greatest contributors to the lack of social cohesion that can lead to conflict and radicalization in Kampala slums, a new study shows.

The study was conducted by the International Organization for Migration (IOM) under the project Strengthening Social Cohesion and Stability in slum populations (SSCoS), which is wholly funded by the European Union. With a budget of €4.3 million (Shs 16.5 billion), the project runs for a period of three and half years and seeks to strengthen social cohesion and stability among slum communities covering Bwaise, Kisenyi, Kabalagala and Katwe areas in Kampala, Uganda.

The project is implemented by IOM and Action for Fundamental Change and Development (AFFCAD) in sectoral collaboration with relevant government agencies.

The study results show that the most vulnerable residents of the slums are youth- 15-35 years (88%).

The sources of grievances for this group include poverty (52%) followed by unemployment (32%), family dispute (27%), followed by political extremism (23%) and religious extremism (10%). Drug abuse, tribalism, injustice, land wrangles, devil worship, and unfavorable government policies were all important sources of grievances in slum areas. Individuals who
earn less than 100,000 UGX a month (53%) and those with a history of violence (6.3%) were also particularly considered to be at-risk of participating in acts of violence.

This baseline study was a precursor to the three and a half year project with the objective of identifying drivers of conflict and possible radicalization. It is expected that data collected will inform an important evidence based model of countering radicalization.

According to the report, the main acts of violence and sources of grievances in slum populations are violence, mob
justice, and rape or sexual harassment ranked 47%, 46% and 33% respectively. Other violent acts reported include human sacrifice (17%), suicide (10%) and acid attacks (7%); as reported by respondents.

Mr. Thomas Tiedemann, Head of the Governance and Human Rights Section, speaking on behalf of the EU Delegation to Uganda said: ” The European Union is proud to be contributing to an initiative whose end goal is harnessing the potentials of young people in slum dwellings and helping them to develop their own lives – and contribute to the development of their communities – where poverty and lack of basic resources are otherwise likely to aggravate conflict and destitution”.

The IOM Chief of Mission in Uganda, Mr. Ali Abdi, said that the findings are a strong indicator that slum communities should be targeted with programs for awareness-raising, to know their rights, be linked to basic services and opportunities in order to increase cohesion, citizen participation and stability.

About the Strengthening Social Cohesion and Stability in Slum Populations (SSCoS) Project

The project will target about 1000 vulnerable and at risk youth, and women living in Bwaise, Kisenyi, Katwe and Kabalagala. This project aims at giving them opportunities to gain skills and access to employment opportunities including through the KCCA job matching data base.

Under this project, vulnerable youth will receive vocational/skills training, economic support, employment opportunities and financial services. Other key results for the project include Strengthened capacity of Action for Fundamental Change and Development (AFFCAD).

Other relevant government agencies like the Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development, KCCA among others will be supported and their capacity built through this project. The KCCA Employment service bureau will be strengthened to provide public employment services including job –counselling, job placement and volunteerism.

Community based early warning systems will be developed through this project, this will be a “soft” system which will entail strengthening the ties between law enforcement and communities rather than  sophisticated ICT systems, to ensure sustainability.

About the European Union Delegation in Uganda
The European Union (EU) is an economic and political partnership between 28 European countries. It plays an important role in international affairs through diplomacy, trade, development aid and working with global organisations. Abroad, the EU is represented through more than 140 diplomatic representations, known also as EU Delegations, which have a similar function to those of an embassy. The EU Delegation to Uganda is supporting Uganda’s priority needs which include the need to foster sustainable development by sound governance and macro-economic policies, improved connectivity of national and regional transport infrastructure and strengthening of agriculture and livelihoods in Northern Uganda and Karamoja sub-region.