Date of Award


Document Type

Campus Access Thesis



First Advisor

David Simmons


This thesis explores how the rapidly changing needs of people on the ground inform transitions from humanitarian relief to development in post-conflict northern Uganda. Internal displacement has undoubtedly become the epicenter of focus for all development actors in the region and as a result of this, development has hinged upon people leaving internal displacement camps and returning home. However, there are countless obstacles complicating their return.

For many people in northern Uganda, the paramount concerns during this transition period revolved around food security and reconstructing their livelihoods. As a result of war, displacement, and encampment, land access and tenure have also become contentious issues. Development projects carried out by both the Ugandan Government and International NGOs in the region have by and large been ill-considered and in some ways have actually created further obstacles for the Acholi people. In very few instances were indigenous knowledges or local perspectives considered by these external actors in the formation and implementation of their projects.

In order for development projects to work, they must be based on what people already know. They should also be based on the transitions people are already making or are prepared to make. The move towards development and recovery must be motivated by the Acholi people themselves - thus carving an even greater space for the agency and indigenous knowledge of the internally displaced inside the development framework.