Water Governance and Interdisciplinary Research Techniques in Post-Conflict Areas

International Field School, 4.-17. October 2015

The objectives of this junior scientists’ initiative were to build up a European-African research network, conduct interdisciplinary empirical research, and enhance competences in data collection in post-conflict areas. The project arose out of the cooperation with Juba University/South Sudan established since 2011. Because of the current security situation, the project was relocated to the north of Uganda and conducted in cooperation with the Institute of Peace and Strategic Studies (IPSS).

The field school was launched at Makerere University with guests of honour, key note lecturers and the participating doctoral candidates from South Sudan, Uganda, Malawi, Benin, Niger, Switzerland and Germany. This opening symposium identified the main thematic areas: epistemologies and methodologies of the different academic disciplines (cultural/social anthropology, economics, political science, social history and sociology); how to study conflict situations; and how to study water management. After arrival of the twenty international students and four lecturers at IPSS in Gulu, the comparative strengths and weaknesses of each disciplinary perspective were discussed in preparation of the field research. Subsequently, the potential complementarities were developed for the comparative research design. During the field excursions in northern Uganda, four interdisciplinary and international field teams generated data on water management in Patongo, Pajule, Anaka and Opit, respectively. The final presentation of the collected data demonstrated highly interesting results on water usage, supply and environmental issues.

By training students in methods of data collection and analysis, the field school built up capacities in an interdisciplinary social science perspective. The field school also stimulated international and interregional cooperation for field research in Africa and offered an opportunity for junior researchers in post-conflict zones, most notably South Sudan and northern Uganda, to engage in collective research for post-conflict reconstruction.

Photos: ©WSDF-N
top: Young woman a beneficiar of a yard tap in Adjumani
bottom: Commisioning of completed water schem in Agweng town