Etudes de cas

Integrating SSR into development frameworks: Uganda, Burundi and Sierra Leone


Security system reform issues have been integrated into national development frameworks in Burundi, Sierra Leone and Uganda. In Uganda, armed violence and insecurity — particularly in the north and northeast — were identified as primary contributors to structural poverty and inequality. The result was that the Ugandan Poverty Eradication Action Plan (PEAP) (2004-08) highlighted existing commitments to regional agreements on security promotion, including small arms control. In Burundi, the government’s 2005 Strategic Framework to Combat Poverty (CSLP) was a deliberate effort to promote post-conflict recovery and was based on a multi-stakeholder and multi-sector dialogue of 145 community-based and non-governmental organisations. In Sierra Leone, the recently agreed PRSP (2005-07) shifted planning and programming from direct post-conflict concerns to a more development-oriented agenda designed to promote inclusive civil society participation.

Entry point

In all three cases, the real and perceived threat of escalating armed violence in the so-called postconflict period, and earlier positive experience with small arms control, catalysed a commitment to investing in accountable and responsible security sectors. In Uganda for example, the PEAP was purposefully designed to increase awareness of the costs of armed violence, but awareness also of the positive dividends of military and police reform in relation to the enhanced safety of communities. The Burundi CSLP addresses the need for a permanent ceasefi re with all remaining armed groups, the demobilisation, disarmament and reintegration (DDR) of ex-combatants, the professionalisation of the security forces, and civilian disarmament. The PRSP in Sierra Leone sought to build on previous successes in relation to DDR and small arms control, and to defi ne the appropriate size, shape and structure of a reformed security sector.

Lessons learned

Ensure a multi-stakeholder and multi-sector dialogue — The PRSP, PEAP and CSLP were forged after extensive and inclusive dialogue processes that emphasised the inclusion of SSR priorities in development frameworks. For example, the PEAP focuses specifically on enhancing the justice, law and order sector to improve the security of persons and property, law enforcement, and access to justice. Moreover, it emphasises disarmament and arms control as major contributors to security promotion
and development.

Use an international agency to co-ordinate a multi-stakeholder and multi-sector dialogue —International agencies had the necessary distance from local politics, legitimacy in the eyes of the governments and populations, and resources to foster successful outcomes of the dialogue processes.

Seek to include SSR in development frameworks to enhance commitment — The PRSP, PEAP and CSLP each include concrete commitments and strategies for managing public expenditures to meet poverty reduction and SSR-enhancing goals. This is valued by donors, who provide direct budgetary support.


The introduction of SSR as a priority issue in national development frameworks raised its profile among partner governments and donors. It also provided an opportunity to stimulate a more inclusive public debate on security issues. While progress has been made in some areas, there is still much to be done. Including security issues in development frameworks is an important step, but government and donors then need to ensure that commitments are financed and implemented.

case study

Capacity development for a national defence review in Uganda


The government of Uganda carried out a defence review with UK assistance from 2002 to 2004. The comprehensive review was the fi rst in Uganda’s history and a politically sensitive and risky undertaking for both countries. The review sought to lay the groundwork for changes in how Uganda formulates and delivers defence and wider security policy, by attempting to anchor this process more firmly in wider governmental planning and budgeting processes. It was undertaken at a time when Uganda was facing a number of serious security problems, both in the north and along its border with the Congo.

This marked the first time that the United Kingdom had supported a review process of such scope and complexity. Like Uganda’s other development partners, the United Kingdom was particularly concerned about rising levels of defence spending. The methodology drew upon both the United Kingdom’s own experience with a strategic defence review in the 1990s and current SSR thinking in order to develop a more holistic and developmentally sensitive approach to analysing defence
requirements. Close collaboration was required at both political and technical levels in order to manage the immense expectations generated by the review process.

Entry point

Both the government and its development partners believed that the defence sector offered the most promising entry point for addressing the country’s security problems. Priority was placed on developing an understanding of the role of defence in relation to other security actors, a clear description of the defence forces needed to fulfil this role effectively, and a plan for defence transformation set within the context of competing needs and resource constraints across the public sector.

Lessons learned

Agree objectives at the outset — A clear and shared understanding of the rationale for and objectives of a defence review process should be developed by the government and its development partners before the actual review exercise is launched. Where views differ as to the objectives of a review or how it should be carried out, careful attention should be paid to managing the diverse expectations of stakeholders as to the concrete outcomes the process will deliver.

Ensure methodologies are appropriate to the local context — Experiences can be drawn on from other countries but should be carefully adapted to the local context before being applied, and adequate training for national staff should be provided.

Develop national ownership throughout the process — Where conditions for strong national ownership are not in place from the outset, a strong partnership between a government and its development partners is necessary. A successful partnership implies commitments and responsibilities on both sides, including the need for assistance to be provided in ways that enhance national leadership and political responsibility for the process.

case study

Uganda Defence Review Process


The defence sector has long been seen by many outside observers as an obstacle to economic and social development in Uganda. Despite a major DDR process in the early 1990s supported by the World Bank, defence has continued to swallow a large share of the resources available to the country. External actors thus informally tied their assistance to a cap on military expenditures of 2% of GDP. The Ugandan government argued that this cap was not sufficient to provide security to its citizens,
particularly in the North. A significant portion of military spending went off-budget and military budget data became increasingly unreliable, which — combined with other cost overruns — resulted in total spending effectively exceeding the cap every year. At the same time, donors were critical of the involvement of the Ugandan armed forces in the DRC.

Entry point

The defence review process was triggered by the recognition among a number of donors, including the World Bank and UK DFID, that the spending cap was not having the desired effects. They were willing to go along with the view of the Ugandan military and political leadership that higher expenditures were needed to improve security, but they also were concerned about the ways in which money was spent. A 1998 expert Defence Efficiency Study provided suggestions for improvements in transparency and management but could not solve the underlying issues of the appropriateness of Ugandan military spending. The logical next step in facilitating a rational debate between donors and the Ugandan government about the appropriate level and spending of defence funds was a detailed assessment of security threats to Ugandan citizens and defence needs. This was initiated
by the Ugandan government in the form of a thorough defence review process supported by UK DFID
during 2002/03.

Lessons learned

Broadening the process — The defence review process involved more than the military — it was a cross-governmental initiative and included some civil society organisations. It started out with an overall assessment of threats to the security of Ugandan citizens and territory, including an assessment of all potential policy responses available to the government, before focusing on options and issues for defence reform.

Professional approach — Sequencing of the various steps within the defence review process was well defined in advance. Implications for force planning and structure, as well as procurement and personnel, were logically derived from the threat and capability assessments.

Limited transparency — The military refused to provide transparency on all of its relevant activities; for example, some sections of the budget would remain classified. Outside observers, including external actors, thus were sceptical of the results of the review process, particularly of the proposals to greatly increase spending on equipment and to improve military capabilities.

Underestimating the fundamental nature of the problem — The main objective of the defence review, namely to improve the quality of dialogue on military spending, was undermined by a lack of common understanding about the main reforms necessary: those to improve military capabilities and governance reforms.


While the defence review process has not resulted in an agreement between donors and government about the appropriate level of military spending in Uganda, it has laid the groundwork for additional reforms in the Ugandan defence sector. Work has been done on a Defence Corporate Plan, and the Defence Reform Unit established as part of the Review has now become the Defence Reform Secretariat.

case study


Buying Time For Peace

Buying Time for Peace" is a documentary that will take you on a journey into the heart of the Great Lakes region to show you the unique role of an international partnership that is trying to break the conflict cycle and create the conditions for peace in central Africa. You will meet and hear from adult ex-combatants and children formerly associated with armed forces as they try to reclaim their lives after conflict. They are participating in the largest program of its kind in the world: the Multi-Country Demobilization and Reintegration Program (MDRP), a multi-agency effort funded by the World Bank and 13 donor governments, that supports the demobilization and reintegration of ex-combatants in Angola, Burundi, the Central African Republic, the Democratic Republic of Congo, the Republic of Congo, Rwanda and Uganda. You will also meet MDRP specialists living and working in the region, such as Dinga, a former Colonel from Chad now in Burundi, Gromo in Rwanda, who has spent most of his life working on humanitarian issues in Africa and who witnessed the Rwandan genocide in 1994 first hand, and Harald, who spends much of his time in the more unstable parts of eastern Congo.

This film was directed by Philip Carr and produced by Bruno Donat.

The film is not available for embedding on our site but you can watch it on Youtube here:


Documents de recherche et de stratégie

Traditional Justice and Reconciliation after Violent Conflict Learning from African Experiences

The report is intended to serve both as a general knowledge resource and as a practitioner’s guide for national bodies seeking to employ traditional justice mechanisms as well as external agencies aiming to support such processes. It suggests that in some circumstances traditional mechanisms can effectively complement conventional judicial systems and represent a real potential for promoting justice, reconciliation and a culture of democracy.
In addition, even in situations where communities are more inclined to demand straightforward retribution against the perpetrators, traditional justice mechanisms may
still offer a way both of restoring a sense of accountability and of linking justice to democratic development.


Customary Justice and Legal Pluralism in Post-Conflict and Fragile Societies

While there has been a growing interest in customary justice systems among rule of law practitioners, it has remained very much at the margins of justice reform strategies. This session will challenge us to view customary justice and other forms of legal pluralism not as a side issue, but as a fundamental part of the justice landscapes in which we work. It will take a critical stance in reviewing the current range of overall policy approaches to legal pluralism and the preconceptions and assumptions that underlie those approaches. It will seek to identify and critically review how different approaches (rights-based, developmental, expanding access to justice, peace-building, state-building etc.,) tend to “frame the problem” when it comes to engagement with legal pluralism and will reflect specifically on how these approaches affect a range of key post conflict objectives. Finally it will consider the building blocks needed to define strategic objectives for engagement with legal pluralism.


La politique des États-Unis en Afrique centrale et des Grands Lacs – Janvier 2015

Cette note publiée par l’Observatoire des Grands Lacs en Afrique s’intéresse à l’implication des États-Unis en Afrique centrale et des Grands Lacs, région qui ne présente pas en soi d’importance majeure pour les États-Unis, ni en termes économiques, ni dans la lutte contre l’extrémisme violent qui concerne d’autres régions du continent. L’attention américaine sur la région d’Afrique centrale et des Grands lacs se concentre sur le règlement de conflits qui perdurent depuis les années 1990, plus particulièrement sur la situation dans l’Est de la République démocratique du Congo (RDC) où les milices armées entretiennent la violence et interdisent toute stabilisation, et les exactions de la Lord Resistance Army (LRA) qui affectent aujourd’hui principalement la République de Centre Afrique (RCA) et la RDC, et sont présentées comme la principale menace régionale contre les intérêts américains.

Ces préoccupations américaines sont largement alimentées par les campagnes de groupes de pression à vocation humanitaire, dont les efforts de sensibilisation ont joué un rôle important sur les positions prises par le Congrès comme par l’Administration Obama. Cela s’est traduit par une implication diplomatique plus forte dans le dossier congolais et un engagement militaire significatif en appui des forces régionales luttant contre la LRA. À côté de ses deux initiatives, la politique régionale reste axée sur une ligne définie dès la fin des années 1990, celle du soutien aux partenaires stables et capables de contribuer aux objectifs privilégiés de Washington dans l’ensemble de l’Afrique orientale : la stabilisation et surtout la lutte contre le terrorisme. De ce point de vue, les États-Unis appliquent dans les Grands lacs, comme dans le reste du continent, une stratégie indirecte fondée sur l’assistance économique et le renforcement des capacités des forces de sécurité, focalisée sur l’Ouganda, le Rwanda et le Burundi.

Veuillez cliquer sur le lien pour accéder à la note La politique des États-Unis en Afrique centrale et des Grands Lacs – Janvier 2015.


Justice Needs in Uganda: Legal problems in daily life

This report by The Hague Institute for Innovation of Law (HiiL) has three purposes:

• To bring forward readers' understanding of citizen-centred access to justice and the justice needs that the citizens in Uganda face on a daily basis.

• To provide an overview of which justice problems the Ugandan citizens face and how they deal with them.

• To give an access to justice strategy for real improvement, always revolving around the needs of the citizens.

For full access to the report on Justice Needs in Uganda: Legal problems in daily life, kindly follow the link.


Strategic Planning in Fragile and Conflict Contexts

The primary audience for this research paper is the strategic planner in fragile and conflict-affected states (FCAS), understood broadly as any actor involved in either the formulation of national priorities to mitigate or recover from conflict, or the design of international strategies to support such priorities. The paper explores the tensions and tradeoffs incurred throughout the planning process on a range of engagement principles, including national ownership, prioritization, and sequencing. It aims to serve two purposes: i) provide a broad concept of key elements of planning and ii) identify key recommendations for engagement as well as policy and capacity gaps in the international community’s support of strategic planning processes

The first section of the paper offers general considerations related to i) the tradeoffs and tensions inherent to strategic planning processes in FCAS, and ii) the challenges and opportunities that planners face, as a means to set the context and rationale for the guidance and recommendations presented throughout the paper. The second and third sections discuss the prerequisites for and the actual steps of the strategic planning process, with a focus on current practice and its range of tradeoffs and tensions, including challenges in formulating results for greater accountability and issues related, inter alia, to ownership, prioritization, and funding. The conclusion presents a summary of findings, along with key policy recommendations drawn from the analysis and the case studies, as well as suggested areas where further research could strengthen the international community’s capacities to support strategic planning processes.


Islamist Extremism in East Africa

ACSS islamist extremism

This Africa Center for Strategic Studies security brief by Abdisaid M. Ali studies the growth of Salafist ideology in East Africa and the challenges it poses to long established norms of tolerance and interfaith cooperation in the region. The brief argues that this is the outcome of a combination of external and internal factors. On the one hand, the decade-long efforts to promote ultraconservative interpretations of Islam by different Gulf states have fostered more exclusive and polarizing religious relations in the region and resulted in an increase in violence. On the other hand, internal socioeconomic differences and repressive, heavy-handed measures by the police to fight extremism have likely reinforced the narratives and appeal of religious extremism. Redressing these challenges will require the rebuilding of tolerance and solidarity domestically along with a check on the external influence of extremist ideology.

To access the security brief on Islamist Extremism in East Africa, kindly follow the link.


Crisis in Karamoja: Armed Violence and the Failure of Disarmament in Uganda’s Most Deprived Region

Violence in Uganda’s Karamoja region is, for many people, the exemplar of Africa’s pastoral wars. The area hosts a number of sub-clans that, together, comprise the Karimojong—a population fractured by protracted inter-clan conflicts over cattle, pasture, and access to resources. Karamoja suffers significantly higher levels of small arms violence (death and injury by firearm) than any other region of Uganda. Since the 1970s, with the proliferation of modern assault rifles, cattle raids have escalated in lethality. A commensurate rise in armed criminality, in which acts of violence are increasingly orchestrated irrespective of community norms on the use of force, has severely impaired the region’s socio-economic development. This paper explores the dynamics behind armed violence in Karamoja and the scale and distribution of its impacts. It is the product of two years of research focused on the Karimojong and neighbouring clans, and presents findings from an extensive range of research methods, including household surveys, interviews, and focus group studies throughout the region.

For full access to Crisis in Karamoja: Armed Violence and the Failure of Disarmament in Uganda’s Most Deprived Region, kindly follow the link. 


Pastoralists at War: Violence and Security in the Kenya-Sudan-Uganda Border Region

The majority of those living in the border region of Kenya, Sudan, and Uganda are pastoralists, whose livelihoods are dictated by the upkeep and size of their herds. Harsh environmental conditions force pastoralists to migrate in search of water and pasturelands during the dry season. With limited access to water and competing rights to land, intertribal conflict arises when pastoralists from one tribe enter the territory of another. The increased availability of small arms in the region from past wars increasingly makes ordinary clashes fatal. Governments in the region have responded with heavy-handed coercive disarmament operations. These have led to distrust and subsequent violent clashes between communities and security providers. This report reviews the scale, consequences of, and responses to the many pastoral conflicts, utilizing methodological tools such as key informant interviews, retrospective analysis, and a thorough review of available literature.

For full access to Pastoralists at War: Violence and Security in the Kenya-Sudan-Uganda Border Region, kindly follow the link. 


Pastoralism in Karamoja: Assessment of factors affecting pastoralist lifestyles in Moroto, Amudat and Kaabong

ACTED Uganda has published an assessment report on the factors that affect pastoralists livelihoods and migratory patterns in the Karamoja, Northwest region of Uganda. The report was published with support from Dan Church Aid, a Danish NGO which provided technical support and financing for the project. The study aims to provide an overview of the changing migratory habits of the karimojong pastoralist communities, and to understand the underlying factors affecting migratory decision making processes. The report will provide development partners with vital information about the migratory dynamics within the region, thereby supporting effective programming in this nomadic region of Uganda.

For full access to Pastoralism in Karamoja: Assessment of factors affecting pastoralist lifestyles in Moroto, Amudat and Kaabong, kindly follow the link. 


Karamoja conflict and security assessment

The Karamoja region of north eastern Uganda is one of the most marginalised parts of the country. For decades, it has suffered from high levels of conflict and insecurity, alongside low levels of development. Pastoralism is a way of life and cattle-raiding is a common practice in the region. Some of the most visible and well-documented violence in Karamoja occurs between different ethnic groups during cattle raiding. The effects of such violence include death, injury, displacement and disruption of economic and social activities. Tensions are fuelled by the vast amounts of small arms that have saturated the region in recent years. Recent disarmament attempts by the Ugandan army seem to have aggravated existing insecurity and there have also been reports of relief efforts fuelling conflict between communities. 

For full access to the report Karamoja conflict and security assessment, kindly follow the link. 


Cattle Rustling and Insecurity in Africa: A Comparative Perspective

Cattle rustling is on the rise in various African countries, with the associated number of deaths, both amongst cattle rustlers, security forces and affected populations reaching problematic proportions. Yet, there is limited policy-oriented research on this matter ranging the security-development continuum. This ISSAT brief, developed as part of the mandate Reinforcing African Union SSR Unit support to national SSR processes draws on existing literature, and provides an overview of cattle rustling in Madagascar, Lesotho, South Africa, Uganda, Nigeria and Kenya. A brief contextualisation is provided for each country, before outlining the security measures implemented to tackle the challenge, and deriving recommendations.

For full access to the paper, Cattle Rustling and Insecurity in Africa: A Comparative Perspective, kindly follow the link. 


Tracking key conflict and security dynamics in Karamoja - an update

This report focuses on Karamoja in north-eastern Uganda. The region has long experienced serious conflict and insecurity, severe poverty and low levels of development. Communities have been involved in cycles of cattle raiding and counter-raiding, including with border communities in Kenya and South Sudan.

The report finds that the government’s assessment of improved security and successful disarmament in Karamoja does not seem to reflect the continued insecurity felt by communities and the fact that significant numbers of illegal weapons still remain in civilian hands. The report recommends that joint planning, and building trust with communities, is essential for a successful transition from the Uganda People’s Defence Force-led to police-led civilian disarmament. Furthermore, while trust in the police generally remains high, their limited presence in the region means that they often fail to effectively protect communities. Equipping and training the police will be crucial to ensure they can better serve communities throughout Karamoja.

Building on an in-depth conflict and security assessment from 2010, the report incorporates follow-up research carried out in the districts of Moroto and Napak in 2011-12. It is primarily a qualitative study, taking in the views and experiences of a range of actors including local people, security and law enforcement agencies, government officials and aid agencies. It emphasizes that local perceptions of safety and security need to guide decisions regarding civilian disarmament, security and development.

The research is part of the EU-funded ‘People’s Peacemaking Perspectives’ project, a joint initiative implemented by Conciliation Resources and Saferworld and financed under the European Commission's Instrument for Stability. The project provides European Union institutions with analysis and recommendations based on the opinions and experiences of local people in a range of countries and regions affected by fragility and violent conflict.

Read the briefing

Read the full report

Find out more about the People's Peacemaking Perspectives Project


Monitoring and Evaluation Arrangements for the Justice Law and Order Sector in Uganda: A Case Study

This case study report presents research findings on the monitoring and evaluation (M&E) arrangements of a long-running justice sector development programme in Uganda (hereafter JLOS – Justice Law and Order Sector). It is one of five case studies carried out as part of the Saferworld project, 'Evaluating for Security: Developing specific guidance on monitoring and evaluating Security Sector Reform interventions’.1 Together with a wider desk review and supplementary research into the broader M&E systems used by the major SSR donors, the case studies provide an evidence base from which specific guidance on monitoring and evaluating SSR can be developed.


Reintegration Assistance for Ex-Combatants: Good Practices and Lessons for the MDRP

This working paper suggests the best practices in reintegration program design include: planning of pilot activities for reintegration support at the start of the DDR process; investing in regular communication and outreach with ex-combatants, communities and other stakeholders; ensuring specialised services and program adaptations for vulnerable groups of ex-combatants including children, women and the disabled; and building broad-based partnerships that facilitate the evolution of reintegration activities into wider development programming. 

As evidenced by the successes and challenges of reintegration programs around the world, the institutional structures and arrangements governing DDR and reintegration programs can have a significant impact on the effectiveness of these operations. Minimum institutional features of particular relevance include: strong national ownership; the separation of political oversight and technical implementation bodies; decentralized program structures; timely and regular monitoring and evaluation; rigorous financial systems and controls; and a clear exit strategy

To access the full paper, click here.


Contrôle parlementaire dans le secteur de la sécurité : L’expérience ougandaise

Dans un entretien avec le CESA, Stephen Twebaze, chercheur sur les Parlements africains et conseiller auprès de l’Assemblée législative ougandaise, explique que, lorsque les membres du Parlement se considèrent avant tout comme des représentants constituants plutôt que comme des cadres déployés par leurs partis politiques, les Parlements sont à même d’exercer un contrôle effectif, même s’ils sont subordonnés à un parti au pouvoir. Depuis 1986, M. Twebaze a recueilli, analysé et publié des indicateurs de performance sur le Parlement ougandais.

Pour accéder à l'analyse, Contrôle parlementaire dans le secteur de la sécurité : L’expérience ougandaise, veuillez suivre le lien.


Preventing violent extremism in East Africa: lessons from Kenya, Somalia, Tanzania and Uganda

Initiatives to prevent and counter violent extremism in East Africa are being implemented by numerous organisations and are receiving significant funding to address the drivers behind violent extremism in the region. This report examined such projects to establish their objectives, target groups, activities, theories of change, evaluation approaches, donor organisations and funding amounts. The study also focused on the organisations implementing these projects and how they design them to address the violence in the region.

For full access to the paper Preventing violent extremism in East Africa: lessons from Kenya, Somalia, Tanzania and Uganda, please follow the link.



Security and Post-Conflict Reconstruction: Dealing with Fighters in the Aftermath of War

This book provides a critical analysis of the changing discourse and practice of post-conflict security-promoting interventions since the Cold War, such as disarmament, demobilization and reintegration (DDR), and security-sector reform (SSR)

Although the international aid and security sectors exhibit an expanding appetite for peace-support operations in the 21st Century, the effectiveness of such interventions are largely untested. This book aims to fill this evidentiary gap and issues a challenge to 'conventional' approaches to security promotion as currently conceived by military and peace-keeping forces, drawing on cutting-edge statistical and qualitative findings from war-torn areas including Afghanistan, Timor Leste, Sudan, Uganda, Colombia and Haiti. By focusing on specific cases where the United Nations and others have sought to contain the (presumed) sources of post-conflict violence and insecurity, it lays out a new research agenda for measuring success or failure


Uganda - Legal and Judicial Sector Study Report

This study examines and evaluates developments in the Justice Law and Order Sector (JLOS) institutions, noting both the achievements and continuing challenges of reform under first phase Sector Investment Plan (SIP I) and SIP II. It pays particular attention to the SIP guidelines and objectives and to the outstanding challenges described in various reviews of the JLOS institutions, more specifically: (a) the commercial court; (b) the impact of the establishment of the centre for arbitration and dispute resolution on case backlogs; (c) the adequacy of legal education to meet the needs of the sector in view of recent reforms, and (d) the provision of legal aid services to the poor to increase their access to justice. The study also touches on the challenges identified by the JLOS Medium Term Evaluation (MTE), which warranted detailed study and which informed the development of SIP II. They include law reform, legal education, and access to justice for the poor and particularly in the conflicted areas of Uganda.


Autres documents

How Can Fragile and Conflict-Affected States Improve Their Legitimacy With Their People?

Fragility, conflict, and violence affect development outcomes for more than two billion people. This poses a particular challenge to development organizations, governments, and NGOs alike.

On December 5, 2016, the World Bank and the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy convened a day-long conference to discuss some of these challenges, share the latest research, and exchange knowledge and experience from the field.

To access the entire conference report How Can Fragile and Conflict-Affected States Improve Their Legitimacy With Their People?, kindly click on the link.

Other Document