Researching the Reintegration of Formerly Abducted Children in Northern Uganda Through Action Research: Experiences and Reflection
De Jong, Gideon
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This paper presents experiences and reflections on the use of a participatory research methodologyunder the difficult conditions of a war situation in northern Uganda. We draw from two compli-mentary approaches in action research to explain our methodology while doing research on thereintegration of formerly abducted children. First, the experience oriented approach, which empha-sizes the need to articulate experience as a basis for learning and knowledge. Second, the exemplaryparticipatory approach which highlights the importance of enhancing empowerment and the need tofind solutions for social problems. We find these two approaches useful for doing action research in aconflict area because of their emphasis on experience and empowerment respectively. In our research,experience is important because of the children’s encounter with the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA)rebels that both needs to be understood and justifies reintegration. On the otherhand, empowerment isimportant for our assumption that the children’s experience and encounter with the LRA hasdisempowering effects on them. We demonstrate the use of the approaches in our research byenhancing participation, balancing power relations and being aware of ethical issues while at thesame time attempting to make the research valid inspite of the challenges. Copyright#2010 JohnWiley & Sons, Ltd.