Engaging Male Youth in Karamoja, UgandaAn examination of the factors driving the perpetrationof violence and crime by young men in Karamoja and the applicability of a communications and relationships program to address related behavior

This project used a mixed methods approach to test the applicability of a pilot communication and relationship intervention that was designed to mitigate young men’s propensity for violence and criminal behavior.

The findings showed that the intervention had a potentially promising impact on interpersonal and domestic violence, but little to no impact on changing patters of crime committed by male youth. Further, the mixed methods approach allowed for an in-depth analysis of how crime and violence are changing in Karamoja to highlight important considerations for targeting the most at-risk youth. We were able to better understand why specific young men are—or are not—engaged in violent and criminal behaviors and how—and who—other behavior change interventions might be best suited for in similar contexts.

We conducted this project in partnership with Concern Worldwide and Stepping Stones Uganda (NESSA). It was funded by the Learning on Gender and Conflict in Africa (LOGiCA) program of the World Bank.

Who are the lonetia? Findings from southern Karamoja, Uganda

The increase in crime and violence committed by young men known as lonetia in southern Karamoja, Uganda, has occurred in parallel to overall security improvements since the start of the 2006 disarmament campaign. This article examines the lonetia phenomenon from the perspective of the young men themselves. Panel data from four sets of interviews conducted in 2013 with approximately 400 young men provide details on the motivations of young men and the challenges they experience in the face of changing livelihood opportunities. We find that the lonetia category is highly fluid and that a set of behaviours and attributes correspond with the frequency of engagement in lonetia activity. Examination of seasonality highlights the contribution of hunger to lonetia frequency. We examine the perceptions of power and respect of young men in their communities as well as their propensity towards violence. The article concludes with thoughts on influencing lonetia involvement.