The state of female youth in Northern Uganda: Findings from the Survey of War Affected Youth (SWAY)
The Survey for War Affected Youth (SWAY) is a research program dedicated to evidence-based humanitarian aid and development. SWAY employs new data, tools, and analysis to improve the design and targeting of protection, assistance, and reintegration programs for youth in northern Uganda.
Youth have been both the primary victims and the primary actors in the protracted war between the Government of Uganda (GoU) and the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA). It is not clear, however, exactly who is suffering, how much, and in what ways. We also have little sense of the magnitude, incidence, and nature of the violence, trauma, and suffering of youth in northern Uganda.
Our understanding of the effects of war on women and girls is especially lacking, whether they abducted or impacted in other ways. Government and NGO officials admit that they have little sense of the true scale of the problems facing young women and the proportion of females facing particular vulnerabilities.
As a result, programming is based on immediate and observable needs and possibly erroneous assumptions about who requires assistance and what assistance they need. Likewise, with only rough measures of well-being available, targeting of services has been crude. The overarching purpose of SWAY is to work with service providers to generate better evidence-based programming.
This report begins with a section describing methodology, before proceeding to theme-focused sections. As peace talks being brokered by the Government of Southern Sudan offer the prospect of an end to one of Africa's longest conflicts, we conclude by offering specific recommendations to the GoU and international and local agencies operating in northern Uganda.