No. 29 March 1999
Participatory Review in Chronic Instability
This paper presents the participatory review of the Ikafe settlement programme in northwest Uganda. Set up in 1994, the Ikafe project allocated land to Sudanese refugees so that they could become self-sufficient in food supply, attempt to reach self-management and representation, as well as some measure of integration with the host population. Those involved in the project included the Ugandan authorities, multilateral aid agencies and international NGOs.
Leaders of the host population, refugees, and agencies Oxfam, Action Africa in Need and Jesuit Refugee Service, all participated in the review. Attempts were undertaken to reach a deeper understanding of the conflicting interests, and to formulate ways forward. The review set out to use methodologies previously employed in comparatively stable situations, but was interrupted by violence. Inspite of this it continued to engage with all stakeholders, adapted to the changing context, and effectively developed ideas for participatory review in situations of instability by ‘doing’.
The conclusions were unfortunately overtaken by further violence and evacuation of staff from the project site. Most refugees also moved away and the bigger settlement of the project is now closed. However, the methodology of the review has many positive lessons in terms of encouraging cooperation, increased transparency of intervening agencies and, above all, lessons for improving the plight of refugees and poor host populations.