Gender and Displacement: South Sudanese Refugees in Northern Uganda

Authored by: Charlotte Watson, Julia Poch Figueras

Categories: Human Rights, Humanitarian Emergencies, Violent Conflict
Sub-Categories: Countering Violent Extremism, Economic Recovery, Human Development, Migration, Post-Conflict Reconstruction, Sexual and Gender-Based Violence (SGBV)
Country: Uganda
Region: Sub-Saharan Africa
Year: 2020
Citation: Watson, Charlotte and Julia Poch Figueras. "Gender and Displacement: South Sudanese Refugees in Northern Uganda." Saferworld. March 2020.

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Executive Summary

In Adjumani District in northern Uganda, South Sudanese refugees displaced by conflict find themselves adjusting to a new life with changing gender roles and dynamics.

Uganda hosts over 850,000 South Sudanese refugees who live either in refugee settlements or in Ugandan villages and towns. The sheer number of refugees means that in some districts refugees almost outnumber the Ugandan host population, which has a considerable impact on the lives of people from host communities as well as on the refugees.

Displacement has left South Sudanese men and women seeking new ways to survive and make a living in an environment where livelihood opportunities are limited. This has put pressure on host communities and the land and resources they rely on. In these circumstances, gender norms are challenged and evolve as refugee men and women adapt and take on different roles and responsibilities in their daily lives and gender dynamics within host communities shift.

This report looks at how displacement caused by violent conflict has affected the gender roles of South Sudanese refugees in Adjumani in northern Uganda. It documents how the roles of refugee and host community men and women have changed and the impact this has had on their decision-making power at home and in the community where they live, as well as on local conflict dynamics. It analyses this in the context of access to land and other livelihood opportunities, and considers related conflicts and conflict resolution processes both within and between refugee and host communities. In light of this analysis, the report assesses the implications for conflict- and gender-sensitive refugee programming.