The aim of this paper is to show part of the actual situation in refugee settlements in Uganda. In particular, the paper focuses on the Kuku, an ethnic group of South Sudan and the gender-based violence (GBV) program in the refugee settlements.
Scholars have conducted research on gender and GBV in South Sudan and in refugee settlements. Various studies have demonstrated that changing people’s understanding of gender or their gender situation in the context of the lives of refugees. However, previous works have shown the strong effect of aid on refugees and have described aid workers as monolithic. This paper attempts to describe the variety of people who make up a refugee settlement. It then looks at how this variety affects the relationship between aid and refugees, and the way that refugees view both gender and GBV.
The main field site for this study, Adjumani, is situated in Uganda near the border with South Sudan. As of August 2017, it had 18 refugee settlements. NGO staff are based in each settlement, and NGOs have contracted refugees as incentive workers. Incentive workers are intermediaries between refugees and staff. Various kinds of relationships between staff, incentive workers, and refugees have developed within the settlements. These relationships have made the refugee/staff boundaries ambiguous and have influenced the understanding of gender and GBV among refugees. However, refugees also have their own social space that is inaccessible to aid workers.
Keywords: gender, gender-based violence (GBV), South Sudan, Uganda, aid, refugees, Kukus