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Forgiveness Project

FORGIVENESS SITE IN AWACH TRADING CENTREThis research is an exploration of processes of forgiveness in post-conflict Northern Uganda. It is an action research project, which, while studying the process, attempts to enhance the creation of space within which people can forgive and be forgiven for wrongs suffered and committed.

The project has recorded 27 local accounts of forgiveness in order to understand potentials and problems related to forgiving. Ten of the edited accounts are shared through voice installations in a Forgiveness Hut in Awach, as well as through a mobile forgiveness unit reaching adjacent villages. Two interactive radio programs in the local language have been broadcast. This is to create community reflections upon forgiveness.

The project has developed new data collection and dissemination tools combining artistic and scientific methods. During the initial 12 months (April 2011 – March 2012), a total of 349 visitors visited the Forgiveness Hut in Awach (of these 145 were female), while the mobile unit has in the course of two months (Feb – March 2012) 329 persons (of which 168 were female).

Disciplines and researchers involved

The research team was multi-disciplinary bringing together Danish and Gulu University researchers. The team consisted of: Komakech Daniel, Julaina Obika, Esther Acio, and, Oyet Kenneth Odong, of Institute of Peace and Strategic Studies (IPSS) at GU; Emilio Ovuga of Faculty of Medicine at GU; Signe Atim Allimadi and Grace Lalam of ENRECA GU; Hanne Mogensen and Susan Whyte from Anthropology at KU; Tove Nyholm from Moesgaard Museum in Aarhus; and Lotte Meinert from Society and Culture at AU. One of the senior IPSS researchers, Ms Julaina Obika, spent two weeks at AU with access to library resources to write on some of the articles coming out of this research.

Publications and dissemination

E Ovuga, J Obika, SR Whyte, L Meinert. Attainment of Positive Mental Health through Forgiveness in Northern Uganda. Submitted to African Health Journal.

E Ovuga, J Obika, E Acio. Forgiveness as a strategy to attain peace and reconciliation from the individual level to the community level in post-conflict Northern Uganda. Abstract accepted for presentation and further publication at the Peace Conference held in Gulu by Gulu University in collaboration with UNRC and ENRECA 04 – 05 April 2012

L Meinert, J Obika, HO Mogensen. Keeping something in one’s heart. Questioning trauma, forgetting and forgiving in Northern Uganda. Abstract accepted for presentation at the European Association of Social Anthropologists Conference at Nanterre University, France, in July 2012. This paper will be developed into an article to be published internationally.

L Meinert, J Obika, T Nyholm. Sharing accounts of Forgiveness in Northern Uganda: Challenges of Developing a Method. Manuscript to be submitted to Anthropology Today.

SR Whyte & L Meinert. Letting it go: telling evil and forgiveness in Northern Uganda. In: Cosmologies of Evil in Africa.  William Olsen and Walter van Beek, eds. forthcoming

J Obika & HO Mogensen. From armed conflict to land conflict: The transformation of conflict in Northern Uganda. Paper accepted for Nordic Africa Days conference in Iceland in October 2012 organized by Nordic Africa Institute. This paper will be developed into an article to be published internationally.

Find more information about the researchers in the Researchers and Assistants menu

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Revised 21.11.2012

The ENRECA-Gulu University is a DANIDA funded project based in the city of Gulu in Northern Uganda.