The communities of Karamoja in northeast Uganda and Turkana County in northwest Kenya have lived with extreme insecurity for more than four decades. Efforts by communities, governments, and civil society organisations have repeatedly failed to bring sustained law and order to the people of these areas.  

This research helps explain why pastoralists in Turkana and Karamoja continue to carry guns. Although the insecurity in the region has been extensively researched, this is the first comprehensive study that has used a participatory, action research approach – where the research is done by community for community. The research team – made up of a mix of formally and traditionally schooled pastoralists, elders, youth, women and men – were able to pursue their own questions about the threats that they have lived with for a long time. Their findings reveal the way in which these borderlands and their security are governed and how different interests navigate the spaces of power.  

This report was developed by the community members who took part in the research. They wrote the narrative and took all the photographs. It serves as a record of the community research, their analysis of the problem, and solutions. The community plan to use it as part of their engagements with governments, NGOs, and others at local, national, and international levels.  

The full report is available to view on the Institute of Development Studies’ OpenDocs digital library.