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Global organization Mercy Corps calls for urgent cease-fire
JUBA, SOUTH SUDAN – On the fourth anniversary of the start of the conflict in South Sudan, Mercy Corps is calling for an immediate cease-fire, which the global organization says is urgently needed to save lives in the country.
In four short years, four million civilians out of a population of 12 million have been forced to flee their homes, with 2.1 million made refugees in other countries in what is now Africa’s largest refugee crisis.
Editor's note: This article was originally published February 3, 2017; it was updated May 15, 2017 to reflect the latest information.
Every day, a staggering number of South Sudanese refugees arrive at Uganda’s northern border in search of safety. Over the past months, their numbers have dramatically increased, with an average of 2,100 daily arrivals. Uganda now hosts almost **900,000 refugees** from South Sudan.
Every day, a staggering number of South Sudanese refugees arrive at Uganda’s northern border in search of safety. Over the past months, their numbers have dramatically increased, with more than 1,800 daily arrivals. Uganda now hosts more than half a million refugees from South Sudan.
Following years of conflict and national policies aimed at encouraging sedentarization of pastoral populations, international and bilateral actors are increasingly shifting their focus towards supporting animal production systems. This report reviews the state of animal-based livelihoods in the Karamoja region of northeastern Uganda and examines how animal ownership affects a household’s ability to weather shocks.
This report shows:
Chronic violence and instability in the Horn of Africa have spurred major investments in resilience in the hopes of preventing future humanitarian crises. Yet how best to build resilience in conflict contexts remains unclear. Mercy Corps began tackling these issues through previous research that demonstrated that peacebuilding interventions can have positive effects on pastoralists’ abilities to cope with and adapt to severe drought.
CONTEXT — A NEW NORMAL
The late-morning sun is already relentless over the sesame field when I get there, but about 20 neighbors chat amiably while they work. Harvest season has arrived, and with it, the optimism that comes with knowing it’s almost payday. This field belongs to Akemkwene David in northern Uganda — his neighbors have come to help him cut and dry his sesame seeds.
Alice, 28, sings in a strong voice. She’s singing about her experiences, but she had to overcome challenges to get here. Conflict forced her husband to flee their village in Uganda, leaving her to take care of their five children.
Peace and stability are starting to take hold in the remote villages and grazing lands of Karamoja, but Alice’s family and many others still struggle with the echoes of the country’s recent civil war.
Charles and Concy have never heard of “superfoods.” They’re not sure what people do with these unusual seeds they are harvesting, but the couple believes they might be the key to a more prosperous future for their family.
Together, Charles and Concy took a risk — they planted one acre of chia on their farm this year. With help from Mercy Corps, they are learning how to successfully grow the new crop — and how to work their farm as equal partners.
By John Burns, Gezu Bekele, and Darlington Akabwai August 2013
"The Conflict Management System in Karamoja: An assessment of strengths and weaknesses” (April 2013) explores the effectiveness of the conflict management system in northern Uganda’s remote Karamoja region. The report identifies formal government and customary actors responsible for managing conflict in Karamoja and the strengths and weakness in the way in which these actors work together to prevent, resolve, and respond to conflict.
Note: The identity of the young girl in this story has been kept anonymous to ensure her confidentiality and safety.
“In 2010, I was abducted by LRA rebels when they attacked Agoumar. I was 13 at the time. Before being taken, I went to school in my village. I loved to read and write, and I thought that I would become a teacher. And then all of a sudden one day my dream was gone. I was kidnapped by the rebels and I could not go to school or do the things I once loved.
The global humanitarian agency Mercy Corps today launched a multi-country programme that will use mobile technologies to give farmers in the developing world a package of services to increase their harvests. As first of its kind, the Agri-Fin Mobile initiative - in partnership with the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) - will identify and connect leading financial institutions, agriculture specialists and mobile network operators and provide mobile-enabled, bundled packages of financial, training and information services to more than 180,000 small-scale farmers.
Mercy Corps Peace Corps Volunteer, Uganda
There’s been a lot of action in northern Uganda lately. But in an area still recovering from the government’s 21-year war with the Lord’ Resistance Army, this is, for once, a welcome kind of drama.
More than 20 years of armed conflict between the rebel Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) and the Ugandan government displaced more than 1.7 million people and stalled development in northern Uganda’s Acholiland. Over the past several years, peace has returned to the region, and more than 90% of internally displaced people (IDPs) have returned to their villages of origin or locations close to home. The peaceful reintegration of returnees as well as the development of the region is undermined, however, by ongoing conflict over land.
While the links between poverty and conflict are widely recognized, economic development interventions and peacebuilding interventions are often implemented separately. This results in missed opportunities to harness economic development to promote peace and to open the doors to development by reducing violence. To address this gap, Mercy Corps conducted a combined conflict and market assessment looking at the relationship between cattle raiding and economic development in the Karamoja region of Uganda.
Jenny Bussey Vaughan,
In an unpredictable world characterized by increasing social, economic and political complexity, good intentions are not enough to ensure sustainable peace and development. Effective, locally appropriate programming must be based on a clear understanding of the causal mechanisms behind peaceful change and a rigorous analysis of the impact of different interventions.