Uganda – JIPS – Joint IDP Profiling Service


Following peace talks and agreements in 2006 between the Ugandan government and the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA), relative peace and security returned to northern Uganda. These paved the way for greater freedom of movement, and 90 per cent of the people who had been displaced in the region began to return to their villages of origin.

As of 2010, however, many challenges still stood in the way of IDPs achieving durable solutions. In order to better understand these challenges and inform future interventions, the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) – working closely with national authorities, the Ugandan Human Rights Commission (UHRC), the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) and the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) – asked JIPS to support a profiling exercise in the Acholi sub-region.

Project overview

Profiling for durable solutions in northern Uganda (2010 – 2011)
The durable solutions assessment (DSA) in Uganda aimed to determine the degree to which IDPs had been able to achieve durable solutions, and to establish an agreed-upon evidence base to inform more effective interventions.

To paint a comprehensive picture of the situation, data collection among displaced households was complemented by an assessment of the policies and programmes relevant to durable solutions already put in place by government authorities and humanitarian and development organisations. Among other issues, IDPs’ access to human rights, peacebuilding and transitional justice mechanisms and their integration into early recovery and development programmes needed to be measured.

Profiling process & JIPS’ support

The authorities in Gulu district set up a technical core group to design and implement the DSA. Its members included UNHCR, the Ugandan Human Rights Commission (UHRC), the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) and the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF).

We supported the group remotely in designing the methodology before undertaking a mission to Uganda in August and September 2010. During the mission we took part in bilateral consultations with key stakeholders and focus group discussions with IDPs to get their perspective on issues to be included in the assessment. Overall, the approach was shaped based on the eight criteria for durable solutions outlined in the IASC framework. Indicators for each criterion were developed and agreed upon by all key partners.

We also supported the profiling partners in finalising the methodology and designing the survey questionnaire, and ran a three-day training workshop for more than 30 local government officials and their implementing partners across the seven districts that make up the Acholi sub-region.

The workshop prepared the participants in terms of tool development, collaboration and coordination considerations, data analysis and management, and results and response planning. It also ensured they understood how the profiling exercise would benefit them, and promoted buy-in and ownership of the process.

Given the complex nature of the assessment and its potential, as an analytical tool based on the IASC framework, to inform stakeholders working in other displacement situations, we also undertook a joint evaluation mission with the European Commission’s Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection department (ECHO) in July 2011 to assess its quality and outcome.

Impact & lessons learned

According to Mildred Ouma of UNHCR: “The findings effectively informed responses to displacement in northern Uganda. De-mining activities and work being done to address land disputes are two clear examples.” More specifically, the DSA had the following uses:

  • The assessment partners used the results as an evidence base for their programmes and activities. To address land disputes that were proving to be obstacles to durable solutions, the Gulu district authorities established a peacebuilding committee and started to issue certificates of customary land ownership.
  • The findings informed advocacy by the Uganda Human Rights Commission and led to de-mining activities by the Danish De-mining Group (DDG) and the government. Recommendations to inform IDPs of such activities led the commission to disseminate information in camps.
  • The assessment highlighted the importance of engaging with communities on durable solutions, and of creating high-level strategies that ensure consultation and community participation.

The exercise also yielded a number of lessons learned:

  • Formulating and agreeing recommendations from assessment findings with partners is vital in ensuring they are acted upon. In Uganda this was accomplished with a recommendations workshop for district authorities.
  • Collaborative profiling exercises, through which consensus on findings can be secured, provide a clear opportunity for effective crossover between humanitarian and development interventions in transition situations.
  • Planning is vital to a successful profiling exercise. In Uganda, there was not enough planning for the analysis and reporting stages, which led to challenges in capturing all of the relevant information in the report and gaining government authorisation for its publication.

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