Poverty and unemployment are the greatest contributors to the lack of social cohesion that can lead to conflict and radicalization in Kampala slums, a new study shows.

The study was conducted by the International Organization for Migration (IOM) under the project Strengthening Social Cohesion and Stability in slum populations (SSCoS), which is wholly funded by the European Union.

With a budget of €4.3 million (Shs 16.5 billion), the project runs for a period of three and half years and seeks to strengthen social cohesion and stability among slum communities covering Bwaise, Kisenyi, Kabalagala and Katwe areas in Kampala, Uganda.

The study results show that the most vulnerable residents of the slums are youth- 15-35 years (88%). The sources of grievances for this group include poverty (52%) followed by unemployment (32%), family dispute (27%), followed by political extremism (23%) and religious extremism (10%).

Drug abuse, tribalism, injustice, land wrangles, devil worship, and unfavorable government policies were all important sources of grievances in slum areas. Individuals who
earn less than 100,000 UGX a month (53%) and those with a history of violence (6.3%) were also particularly considered to be at-risk of participating in acts of violence.

This baseline study was a precursor to the three and a half year project with the objective of identifying drivers of conflict and possible radicalization. It is expected that data collected will inform an important evidence based model of countering radicalization.

According to the report, the main acts of violence and sources of grievances in slum populations are violence, mob
justice, and rape or sexual harassment ranked 47%, 46% and 33% respectively. Other violent acts reported include human sacrifice (17%), suicide (10%) and acid attacks (7%); as reported by respondents.

Mr. Thomas Tiedemann, Head of the Governance and Human Rights Section, speaking on behalf of the EU Delegation to Uganda said that the European Union is proud to be contributing to an initiative whose end goal is harnessing the potentials of young people in slum dwellings and helping them to develop their own lives – and contribute to the development of their communities .

The IOM Chief of Mission Mr. Ali Abdi at IOM said that the findings are a strong indicator that slum communities should be targeted with programs for awareness-raising, to know their rights, be linked to basic services and opportunities in order to increase cohesion, citizen participation and stability.

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