TrustLand research project

After decades of war and dislocation to IDP camps, people in Northern Uganda have now returned home. The transition is marred by a pervasive legacy of mistrust in institutions of governance, linked to camp experiences and conflict. This is particularly evident in relation to land; population has increased, the customary system of land entrustment has been disrupted and new borders must be negotiated. In one sub-county 30% of families report that they are currently in a land conflict. Sensitivities about land are further inflamed by fears of alienation linked to the new oil industry and large-scale commercial agriculture. Mistrust is exacerbated through interweaving land disputes and other conflicts that challenge both new and ‘old’ governance institutions. Mitigating these conflicts and building trust is crucial to preserving the fragile stability achieved after the civil war.

Our research examines links between land, trust/mistrust and governance with emphasis on gender and generation. We explore how differently positioned people manage, mitigate and engage conflicts in a setting of co-existing formal and parallel legal authorities. Case studies include: claims to land based on descent; women’s rights to land and security; individual and communal rights in relation to commercial interests; the discourses of traditional vs universal human rights in relation to property. We compare the bases of trust in clans, customary leadership, NGOs, religious organizations and government agencies. Additional information about the project which ended in 2019 can be found in the menus above.

The edited volume of the TrustLand project “This Land Is Not For Sale” is available in Open Access. Read it here

Read an article about the project and watch Professor Lotte Meinert tell more about the outcomes of the project in a video made by the Danida Fellowship Centre here

DFC video

Aarhus University Gulu University University of Copenhagen