The LRA has been expelled to the Central African Republic where they still make incursions into Sudan and the Democratic Republic of Congo. Over the course of this Strategic Initiative, northern Uganda has progressed from a region with occasional conflict to hostility-free and, more recently, to a secure state. This SI endeavoured to create a framework to foster economic prosperity, provide learning opportunities, and create platforms for community dialogue to enhance human security in a still fragile environment. Project outcomes indicate that as people have gained confidence in their future prospects, they have increasingly invested themselves in the opportunities for sustainable livelihoods, shifting the focus from subsistence and survival to independence and wealth creation.
This is, however, far from a tension-free zone. With people returning to their traditional lands, there is increasing tension around land rights. Child mothers and ex-combatants endeavouring to reintegrate into society face major resentment barriers.
This SI invested in future building at the grass-roots level, addressing very practical issues faced by a community emerging from years of violent oppression. In total, over 60,000 people have benefitted directly from this targeted investment. But it has also touched softer aspects of human security such as dignity, identity, belonging, liberty and happiness. When the SI began, the very fragile ceasefire was identified as a major external risk factor. We are glad to report that the peace has held and the SI has been completed without incident – to some extent a vindication of the boldness of the Legatum Foundation’s investment at such a crucial but risky time.
A key obstacle observed in the granting strategy was the dependency syndrome of people who have lived for a generation on external aid. This has indeed been a challenge, but the economic empowerment programmes have guided people on the journey toward self-sufficiency. This SI has helped people get a foothold on the prosperity ladder. It will now be up to individuals and communities to determine what they do with this foothold, no matter how precarious it may be.