Peacebuilding and psychosocial intervention: the critical need to address everyday post conflict experiences in northern Uganda

Abstract: The complex set of phenomena posed by societies affected by violence has prompted calls for integration and coordination between peacebuilding and psychosocial work. The ways in which psychosocial support interventions are implemented can contribute to, or impede, the peacebuilding process. In northern Uganda, a rise in cases of suicide, domestic violence and substance abuse has pointed to the pressing need to better understand the experiences and stressors of individuals and communities navigating post conflict life. Drawing on the perspectives of community leaders, traditional authorities, local government officials, and nongovernmental organisations, this article offers a critical analysis of mental health and psychosocial interventions in northern Uganda. It that demonstrates that psychosocial interventions have largely been: (1) short lived; (2) targeted specific groups at the expense of others; (3) failed to respond to the daily needs of the population; and (4) remained relatively disconnected from the wider post conflict recovery process. To address the full range of conditions affecting societies emerging from complex emergencies, psychosocial interventions must be responsive to the needs and changes that arise during the delicate war-to-peace transition.

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Rokhideh, Maryam