Our stories matter, our own way : the safe and meaningful engagement of young people in post-conflict truth telling in northern Uganda

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Issue Date
2014-10-23
Authors
Heykoop, Cheryl Anne
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Subject
engagement
participation
post-conflict truth telling
protection
transitional justice
young people
Abstract
Young people's engagement in post-conflict truth telling is a relatively new phenomenon. Limited research has explored how current methods impact young people and if alternative methods could be used. This research applied participatory action research (PAR) with young people in northern Uganda, aged 11 to 23, who were formerly abducted (FA), internally displaced (ID), born in captivity (BIC), and/or disabled by the war (DBW) to explore young people's perspectives on post-conflict truth telling, identify emergent changes resulting from the research, and offer recommendations to better support the meaningful and ethical engagement of young people in post-conflict truth telling. Specifically, the research considers the processes, methods, and outcomes to support young people's engagement.Findings suggest that young people's engagement in post-conflict truth telling is important for a comprehensive understanding of the conflict. Yet, simply sharing about the past is not enough. Rather, young people's meaningful and ethical engagement in post-conflict truth telling is a complex and long-term process that empowers young people to share their experiences and contributes to healing and reconciliation. This requires giving young people a variety of engagement opportunities that offer support and protection and contribute to tangible changes in their lives and communities.Drawing from the wisdom and lived realities of young people, these research findings can transform young people's engagement in post-conflict truth telling. Specifically, they encourage critical reflection on how young people are currently engaged in post-conflict truth telling, and offer suggestions on how to more meaningfully and ethically engage young people in post-conflict truth telling and other transitional justice processes in Uganda and around the globe.
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