I currently hold a Master in International Peace Studies which I completed during my two year Kroc Institute scholarship in the United States at the University of Notre Dame, Indiana (2013 to 2015). Prior to this I have worked for almost over ten years in northern Uganda with Justice and Reconciliation Project (JRP) www.justiceandreconciliation.com – an NGO I helped found in 2004 in my hometown Gulu after completing undergraduate studies from Makerere University Uganda.
Working for a long period in the conflict affected region northern Uganda exposed me to critical non-academic research and policy advocacy among communities living through violence as well as those in transition to peace. It was here that I was able to participate in a number of creative action-oriented research projects such as: return and reintegration of formerly abducted children, forced marriage and reintegration of formerly abducted girls and women, spirits and social reintegration among the Acholi tribe, traditional justice and reintegration, among others.
I am extremely honoured that through research was able to make significant contributions as I can’t recall how many local and national debates I got involved in by presenting grassroots research findings on victims of conflict in Uganda. For these contributions I am also grateful for the partnership I have had with Dr. Erin Baines, an associate professor at the University of British Columbia who acted as my JRP project research supervisor. It is this indulgence with Dr. Baines and for the many creative research projects we worked on together that I began to think about transforming my research ideas into an academic thesis. In 2010 when we jointly established the Women Advocacy Network (WAN) the dream was to transform transitional justice debates from that which is gender blind, to that which allows the inclusion of both women and children. Story telling became a strong means of engaging conflict affected women and children born of rape as we pursued this engagement. Today I am happy the women are strong on their own as WAN – aware of their rights as they continue to per take all forms of local advocacy for the improvement of their plight.
For all the time spent in Uganda and at JRP, I was able to find an enabling environment to explore new areas of research on the needs and aspirations of women and children born of war to which I today pursue my PhD research. My research will pay attention to the education and reintegration of children born of war as a result of rape. My research seeks to provide reflections on how these children relate with their biological and/or social parents whose experience of sexual violence has consequences for the children and these children's marginalization at the various institutions of socialization. This research also integrates gender and masculinity as to how these relate to the cultural settings of the Acholi tribe in northern Uganda.
I am extremely grateful to DASA for this chance offered to me to develop my research ideas as I know this will make a strong contribution to my future career in the field of policy and academia.