Ongoing Research on Africa in Uppsala

Forum for Africa Studies have gathered a few examples on research on Africa conducted at Uppsala University and in neighbouring institutions at SLU and NAI. The examples were gathered during the workshop entitled Research on Africa at Uppsala University on the 4th of June 2012. Under Events on the top menu you find more information on the workshop and images.

Eldridge Adolfo

Nordic Africa Institute

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Research: Multi-Party Politics and Election Violence: Structural and Proximate Challenges Found outside the Electoral Cycle

Since the (re-)introduction of multiparty politics in Africa in the early 1990s, electoral competition for state power has become the norm and most African states have since held more than three successive elections. While the frequency of elections has generated a sense of optimism for multiparty politics, a worrying trend of increasing election-related violent conflict that threatens democracy, peace and stability has emerged.

The factors that propel such violence are multifaceted, ranging from flawed or failed elections to structural issues such as poor governance, exclusionary political practices, the socio-economic uncertainties of losing political power and the challenges associated with partial democracies, to name but a few. However, although the factors which propel and trigger electoral violence in Africa are diverse, they generally revolve around the failure to identify structural and institutional issues which create the potential for such violence. Consequently, responses to electoral violence tend to be confined to addressing symptoms rather than redressing structural causes, which are often found outside the electoral cycle. In many cases elections have either precipitated political disputes or have escalated simmering tensions and acted as a trigger to violent conflict. For example, in the past six years this has been the case with regards to election-related violence in Sierra Leone (2007), Kenya (2007/08), Zimbabwe (2008), Nigeria (2007 and 2010), Lesotho (2007), the Democratic Republic of Congo (2006 and 2011), Togo (2005), Guinea Bissau (2008), Cote d'Ivoire (2010/11) and Uganda (2011).

The research has a specific focus on Zimbabwe, where the constitutional referendum and General elections are to take place before June 2013. Most if not all of the issues from the Global Political Agreement signed by the parties in 2008 have not been resolved and are compounded by the continued polarisation of the political parties (both intra and inter); the winner-takes-all, exclusionary majoritarian electoral system; informal power networks; the increasing grip of the security sector on the running of the state; state sponsored violence and more.

Within the framework of the election violence concepts and theories, the research aims are to clearly define the various nuances and their interlinkages within the crisis - political, security and socio-economic. It demonstrates how addressing these structural challenges and not only electoral cycle symptoms, will lead to Zimbabwe making the transition to a more stable democracy. The research also aims to contribute to the literature on the challenges faced by countries that are partial democracies as they struggle through the transition to multiparty politics.

Beth Maina Ahlberg

Department of Women’s and Children’s Health, Unit of International Health

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A Child a Tree” : An “Innovating” Concept for creating a healthy region and a future without AIDS in a Kenyan context

HIVand AIDS prevention continue to be a challenge in Kenya after nearly forty years of interventions. Research by the Social Science Medicine Africa Network (Soma-Net) in Kenya and Uganda between 2003-2006, aimed to explore ways to reverse the trends in the AIDS pandemic among young people. A major finding was that in spite of using methods to promote dialogue, communication on issues of sexuality was still a challenge. Moreover, silences and stigma were observed to be re-emerging in new forms.

Nonetheless, participatory and dialogic approaches enabled the people to reflect on their untapped capacities, to question some of their practices and traditions, to identify innovative ways of moving on, what resources they had and what they may need from outside their boundaries. They also addressed strategic questions and concerns as part of realising their dream of a future without AIDS.

This paper describes the way the concept “a child a tree” emerged from the research process and how it was subsequently used as an “innovating” concept to expand collaboration by creating development coalitions with different stakeholders, professionals and service agencies and for facilitating dialogue and reflection on how to create a healthy region.

Jesper Bjarnesen

Department of Cultural Anthropology and Ethnology

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Diaspora at home? Youth and Mobility in the Context of the Ivorian Crisis

I am in the final stages of writing my PhD dissertation in Cultural Anthropology. I enclose a brief introduction to the study.

While the Ivorian crisis to a large extent revolved around notions of autochthony and belonging that singled out “Burkinabe strangers” as particularly unwanted in the nationalist rhetorics of ivoirité, the “return” to Burkina Faso of citizens who for the most part had lived out the greater part of their lives in Côte d’Ivoire was experienced as an ambiguous movement from one state of exclusion to another. Labelled as “diaspos” and “ivoiriens” in Bobo Dioulasso, their forced displacement from Côte d’Ivoire entailed a social displacement to the margins of social life in the city, from where it was up to each individual and family to face up to these persistent displacements and carve out a living space in their new neighbourhood: materially, socially, and existentially.

The dissertation is based on ten months of ethnographic fieldwork in the neighbourhood of Sarfalao in Bobo Dioulasso – Burkina Faso’s second largest city – where many displaced people settled during the turbulent decade of the Ivorian political conflict. It focuses on the past experiences and aspirations for the future of these people, in the context of everyday life in Bobo Dioulasso and the continued political unrest in Côte d’Ivoire.

The project sets out to analyse the everyday lives of residents in the urban periphery of Bobo Dioulasso who, while facing the same predicaments as so many others across the neighbourhood and the city, share a particular history of labour migration and forced displacement in the context of the Ivorian crisis. In this way, the specific ruptures and continuities – both in terms of migrant trajectories and in terms of the associated feelings of home and belonging – suggest that the more schematic analyses of push/pull or of seeing particular kinds of movements as strictly labour migration (implying continuity, predictability, and economistic motivations) as opposed to forced migration (implying rupture, a state of exception, and un-meditated migration), may neglect the existential and social implications of a much less clear-cut migrant practice in everyday life. This study points to some of the ’blind spots’ of these approaches and suggests alternative theoretical concepts as more appropriate for grasping some of these complexities. Rather than seeing displacement as a state of exception, brought about by external forces and resulting in automatic or instinctual reactions on the part of the migrant, the study builds on an emerging literature that explores subjective experiences of displacement in the context of radical changes or events.

Anneli Ekblom

Department of Archaeology and Ancient History

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My main research interest concerns socio-environmental dynamics, as an interdisciplinary study residing in the intersection between environmental history, historical ecology and archaeology. In southern Africa I am currently engaged in three research themes.

Historical Ecology

My research focus on historical and contemporary interactions between physical environmental processes and the many social interactions that builds society by taking on a longue durée perspective, ie. studies of the long term and short term changes in the landscape from archaeological, historical and present day sources (see Integrated history and ecology theme). The interface between environmental management and cultural heritage management forms part of the analysis. My Ph D thesis (Ekblom 2004) presented an analysis of the socio-environmental history of a village, Chibuene, situated in coastal Mozambique and this work is now being expanded in coming papers.

I am currently involved in a project that looks on the long term socio-environmental history of Limpopo National Park, Mozambique. This project will be expanded into a cultural heritage project as local residents are now being relocated to outside the park (see Ekblom and Notelid 2010). The future project is orientated towards documenting and thus preserving histories and attachments to the landscape for the benefit of relocated communities . Another aim is to document the practical and embedded ecological knowledges of resident communities, knowledges that are of importance also for park managment and will otherwise be lost

Hybridity & ecological footprints of urbanism in southern Africa

This project is still in its planning phase and will lie under the larger research project “Urban minds” (application is presently being processed by Paul Sinclair) and is also included a a subproject within the research node Mind & Nature (

Through urban history there has been a tension between the city and its hinterland, between the urban and rural and between the cultivated and natural-which is reflected both in social patterns, buildings and landscape use as also in the visualisation of the city, country and nature. This contrast is reflected in the integration of "nature" in the city and the transformation of nature to an urban space. A better understanding of the dynamics between city and country as a hybridized geography will not only make us understand cities in new ways it will also help us to better understand and explain our urban contemporary environment. The study uses early & urban centres such as Mapungubwe and Great Zimbabwe but also urban centres that are forming in the present. The relationship between the town and the hinterland is explored through a variety of sources, archaeology, paleoecology, written sources, mapping and interviews.

Long term landscape dynamics of the Southern Africa savanna

Continues and expands on the research and ideas formulated out in the Kruger environments a collaboration between Oxford University, University of Cape Town and Uppsala University (2005-2008) and now also with department of geography at Stockholm University. This project aims to provide long term data and theoretical models on the ecological dynamics of southern Africa, with the aim of informing an ecologically sound environmental management today. Palaeo-ecological methods and archaeological data are used in order to understand the ecological dynamics between people, climate, fire, herbivory and plant competition. Studies from Kruger National Park, Mapumalanga (Southafrica), Limpopo National Park and Vilanculos Region (Mozambique) will provide an overview over the mode of interaction between different “drivers” in the landscape; internal competition, rainfall, herbivory, fire and people and the critical points whereby these interactions leads to large scale changes in the landscape.

E-C Ekström

International maternal and child health, Women’s and Children’s Health


Research: Prevention and management of child malnutrition by community-based nutrition activities in Ethiopia: health system and household characteristics of importance for its effectiveness

Research undertaken in collaboration with ET Balla, A Worku, Y Berhane, P Olsson, LÅ Persson. Effective nutrition interventions exist to prevent and manage child malnutrition. Scaling up of such interventions has been less successful and influenced by the context where such programs are implemented. Research on the implementation of evidence-based nutrition interventions has globally been prioritized, and the outcome is closely related to Millenium Development Goal 1 and 4. This study is done within Ethiopia's National community-based nutrition program. It analyzes the influence of contextual factors (related to mothers, health care providers) on provision, utilization and outcome of the services. A community-based survey will identify determinants of coverage and utilization of the nutrition program. Further, screening activities will identify 1500 children with severe acute malnutrition and assess contextual factors related to process and outcome of their home based treatment. Results will increase the knowledge regarding contextual factors of importance when scaling-up nutrition interventions in Eastern Africa and elsewhere. The Ethiopian partner is Addis Continental Institute of Public Health, Addis Ababa that represent a very qualified public health institution that frequently is requested for expert missions by national and international organisations, The Swedish partner is International Maternal and Child Health, Uppsala University which has a large expertise in research on child health and nutrition. The project is financed by a grant from Sida.

Sverker Finnström

Department of Cultural Anthropology and Ethnology

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Orientations between past and future: An anthropology of life threads, global war, and transnational (in-)justice

Because we live in an age of globalized mass violence and large-scale humanitarian, military and justice interventions, we need more knowledge about how these phenomena intersect and affect the human condition across continents. Following this hypothesis, the project investigates contemporary global war and transnational interventions of our times, with the primary aim of advancing our understanding of the complex phenomenology of centrifugal (e.g., refugee flows) and centripetal (e.g., justice interventions or diplomacy) travels of violent conflict. Building on ethnographic fieldwork carried out in war-torn northern Uganda on the Lord's Resistance Army, and in chronicling life histories of Swedish-based individuals traveling to as well as from the epicenter of war, the project delineates the different yet entangled ways people live through the realities of war. This anthropological approach provides the means to innovatively challenge established categorizations such as victim or perpetrator; local impunity or international criminal justice; Europe vis-à-vis Africa; centre vis-à-vis periphery; and last but not least, of peace and war in our times. Hereby the project raises the question about the possibility that peace and war, justice and impunity, and even democracy and violence may be globally interdependent in ways that we today only have a stereotypical understanding of. The phenomenology of war in northern Uganda may be just as European in character as it is African.

Martha J Garrett

Department of Women’s & Children’s Health


INFORM: Helping researchers in Africa to access high-quality information

For academic professionals in the LICs (lower-income countries) of Africa, access to free, high-quality information can be a major hindrance to research and teaching. Since most LIC university libraries have limited journal subscriptions, special information programmes (OARE, AGORA, and HINARI) have been established by United Nations agencies to give professionals in these countries free access to full-text journal articles, as well as e-books, statistical databases, and other information resources. Yet other information-access programmes have been set up by publishers and non-profit organizations.

The information resources that African researchers can access via these routes—and cannot access via Google—are worth literally millions of dollars annually. Researchers often miss these materials, however, because the system is so complicated. Each programme has its own eligibility criteria, so that access varies among neighbouring countries and even within countries. Also, most programmes require institutional registration and involve usernames and passwords.

The Uppsala-based programme INFORM, founded within International Maternal and Child Health in 2004 and now based at the non-governmental organization CERTIOREM, works to encourage researchers and other professionals in LICs to use available online information resources. The programme carries out research on what information resources are available in specific countries for particular academic disciplines and produces free, online “sourcebooks” describing in detail how these resources can be accessed.

INFORM has provided information training on medicine, midwifery, public health, humanitarian assistance, international law and human rights, mathematics, physics, agriculture, biological resources, and sustainable development and has run workshops in several dozens countries in the Newly Independent States, Asia, and Africa, often in support of ongoing research or development projects. INFORM trainers have also introduced relevant information-access routes to African post-graduate students at Swedish universities and to African professionals attending Sida-financed advanced training programmes.

More information about INFORM and access to the programmes sourcebooks can be found at A new sourcebook on information resources for sub-Saharan Africa is currently being developed and will be posted at the site during the summer of 2012.

Torsten Gordh (in collaboration with Desmond Ayim-Aboagye)

Department of Surgical Sciences


Drug Abuse and Treatment Response among African Immigrants in Urban Sweden. A qualitative and quantitative study of the patients understanding of their life situation

In collaboration with the Centre for Pain Research and Treatment, University of Uppsala, we seek to investigate and also comprehend the rate of response of treatments of patients with addiction problems originating from immigrants’ backgrounds across the country.

The project will focus on immigrants in Sweden, especially those hailing from Africa. It shall try to find more about their social situation in regard to their day to day use of drugs and their response to different treatment methods provided to them by the government and the municipalities as well. Here, there is a recognised cooperation of research with team members, who, being medical doctors, are capable of providing concrete information and support which allows the team to reach their goals. This collaboration provides essential views as to how those admitted as patients with drug abuse recount and perceive their treatments in the form of drugs and the different treatment methods that are used. Whether it is pain in the body or life situation, that of coping or adaptation, and how these patients receive overall hospital treatments together with psychological adjustment in their milieu filled with uncertainty, trouble, and the different social problems they encounter.

We seek to achieve in the results of this work by obtaining a better or holistic perspective concerning these immigrants’ social situation in their drug use; therefore, comparison will be made with control groups that will be chosen from different social groups. Preliminary investigation, which will be based on interviews and physical examination or observation, will be made with these patients. Those reporting pain will be examined whether it is psychological pain, chronic pain (neuropathic), or acute pain, which need attention by those doctors they had visited. Information of drug response shall be elicited to find out how they are being cured by the required treatment they are being offered. Does their being migrated to another climate other than theirs have a bearing on their response to drug treatment? The use of different instruments to understand their pain will probably illuminate on their experiences with pain in the present context, and also continuous assessment will yield important data for the overall results in the project.

It must be emphasised that the investigation has the overall purpose of comprehending correctly not only the judicial implication with which these immigrant population from different multicultural backgrounds deal with their abuse, health problems, and response to pain treatment, but also to familiarise ourselves with their adaptation process to life in general in connection with modern-day migration and cooperation in the international perspective.

Sten Hagberg

Department of Cultural Anthropology and Ethnology

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Political Parties, Popular Protests, and “the People”: Opposition Politics in West African Municipalities

The paper presents on-going anthropological research geared towards democratic culture in West Africa. In particular, I develop how opposition politics is expressed – daily and mundanely – in municipalities in Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger. In a context where formal political opposition remains weak, the paper shows that political parties and popular protests articulate two poles of a continuum of how opposition politics is practised. Common to parties and protests is that their leaders make authoritative claims to speak in the name of “the people”. On the basis of long-term anthropological fieldwork, the paper elicits elements of a comparative anthropological analysis of opposition politics in West Africa.


Wanjiku Kaime-Atterhög

International Maternal and Child Health


The research commenced in 1996 and the aims were to gain an understanding of the needs of street children in Kenya and to investigate how caring institutions meet and care for these children. The findings of the research were expected to indicate the rehabilitation needs of the children and the training needs of the caregivers. A group home for the children was established in December 1997 and a training programme for the caregivers was started in April 1998.

The reflexive ethnographic approach was used to facilitate entry into the sub-culture of the children and the work contexts of the caregivers, to gain a deeper understanding of the way the children live on the streets and the way the caregivers work with the children on the streets and in institutions of care. A fundamental point of the research was to develop interventions that would improve the children’s situation and practice; a reason why we have also used the interpretive description approach. Interpretive description helped us to go deeper in the interpretation of the data, seeking to discover associations, relationships and patterns rather than simply describing the phenomena.

The four studies in this thesis were carried out based on the prevailing discourses in the late 1990’s or findings from previous studies. Study one was carried out when HIV/AIDS was a major concern and street children were seen as a “time bomb waiting to explode” due to their high risk sexual behaviour. However, meeting their basic needs including food, shelter, education, and access to healthcare was found to be their major concern. The study also indicated that the boys had strong social bonds and support networks as a survival strategy on the streets. Based on these findings, study two was designed to reach the children on the streets and engage them in defining and meeting their basic needs. Through the research process, a deeper understanding of the street culture emerged, showing who the street boys are as well as how they are organised, their hierarchies and socialisation; patterns of substance use, home spaces in the streets and networks of support. The children indicated they wanted to leave the streets but rejected all attempts to link them to existing services as the care they received was poor. A group home was established together with the most vulnerable and youngest group of children on the streets, the “begging boys”.

The next study focused on investigating the strategies the caregivers used in providing care to the children on the streets and in the institutions of care. The findings showed that their interactions greatly influenced the children’s decision to leave the streets, be initiated into residential care and undergo rehabilitation and reintegration programmes. Children were more positive to caregivers who applied a participatory approach and established rapport with them. From these findings, it became necessary to develop a training programme for the caregivers using adult learning methods to facilitate critical reflection on their work and learn how to reach and engage children. The last study focuses on the development and implementation of the training programme and the transformation that took place 2-5 years after the caregivers had been trained. The findings show that with the right composition of learners, course content based on research and caregivers’ reflections, and discursive role of researchers and facilitators, adults can transform their attitudes and their practice.

Anne Kubai

Department of Theology, Nordic Africa Institute

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Current/on-going research

1. Perpetrators of Rwandan genocide. Much of scholarly attention had been directed at the survivors of Rwanda, while the perpetrators have been nearly forgotten. I am working on a book that looks at how the perpetrators rationalize the horrors of genocide, the book is based on 138 testimonies that I recorded in the 12 major prisons in Rwanda between 2004 and 2005.

2. Gender-based violence in Rwanda and challenges for the social reconstruction of a deeply wounded society. Post genocide Rwanda is known as the country with the highest number of women in parliament and other decision-making bodies and government agencies. This study looks at the levels of gender-based violence that continues unabated in a society that claims to have achieved gender equality and empowerment for women.

3. “Captured in flight: experience of violence among African women immigrants in Sweden” This study focuses on women’s experiences of men’s violence among African immigrants in Sweden. Migration disrupts family life and put extra strain on migrants who often find themselves in unfamiliar cultural environment besides other social challenges attendant to migration status in Sweden. Do these challenges engender violence?

4. “A Child A Tree”. This action-research project is based in a school in Kajiado where each school child from the surrounding community plants a tree and tends it. This way the children have improved the environment of the semi-arid area around the school and the social transformation of the Maasai community around the school is becoming evident.

Planned research

1. Confession and forgiveness: Can ‘a new moral paradigm’ be a basis for bridging the divide between perpetrators and survivors of Rwandan genocide? The aim of this project is to study how the strategy of ‘confession and forgiveness’ of genocide crimes involving thousands of perpetrators and survivors of the Rwandan genocide, can function simultaneously to bring about a balance between justice and reconciliation; or between retribution and amnesty, in a deeply wounded and fractured society.

2. Life after genocide. The study will focus on the everyday life for survivors, perpetrators and their families. On the one hand, for survivors and their families, it is not easy to forget the horrors and the pain and suffering visited upon them by their neighbours, friends and people known to them, most of who are now free. On the other, the perpetrators cannot easily shed off the stigma of genocide. But they all have to live together as they did before the genocide and life has to continue. Normalcy must be assumed. But how is this possible? Anthology on mass violence in Kenya during the recent general elections. With a team of researcher in the Catholic university in Nairobi, we are working an anthology that investigates the mass violence that erupted during the 2007 general election where 1113 people were killed and 600000 internally displaced, with numerous rapes and massive destruction of property. Hundreds of thousands of IDS are still suffering in refugee camps without justice. Negotiating youth identities in a cultural mix: Case studies of African religious groups and cultural associations in the United Kingdom, Sweden and Germany. This study will investigate ways in which religious and cultural belonging shapes youth experiences, behavior and identity.

Abdulaziz Y. Lodhi

Department of Linguistics & Philology

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Sidi East Africans of Gujarat - A case of early and modern globalization

Facing modern globalization, which seems to make the world become more inter-connected, ethnicity is increasingly emphasised in many parts of the world where claims to specific local identities and renewed or (re)constructed authenticity are emphatically presented. Diaspora discourse includes a wide range of populations and their historical predicaments. Individuals, and also small and large groups in diaspora, everywhere have (re)constructed, (re)invented and imagined their ancestral homelands.

The Sidis of Gujarat are an interesting example of early globalization in the Indian Ocean lands, and the impact of modern globalization on diaspora communities. They are fragmented communities of mixed East African ancestry, primarily descendants of Muslim African traders, sailors and mercenaries. They speak Gujarati and Cutchi with only a few Swahili/Bantu expressions mostly connected with their Muslim Sufi ritual dance, music and songs.

After a long period of relative isolation, the Sidis have recently received wider recognition through Indian and Western academic interest. Sidi cultural societies have participated nationally and internationally with their sacred songs and dance. Their renewed contacts with East Africa have increased slightly the Swahili elements in their language use, emphasising their African heritage, suggesting once again that language is a significant symbol of ethnic identity.

The Sidis are increasingly perceiving East Africa in general, and Zanzibar in particular, a major slave-market in the western Indian Ocean, as the home of their African ancestors, and Swahili as their ancestral language, giving it the role of an essential factor of Sidi ethnic identity.

This paper discusses briefly the history of the Sidis of Gujarat, their geographic distribution, economic activities, social organisation and ethnic perceptions.

Mimmi Söderberg Kovacs

Department of Peace and Conflict Research

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Project Title:

Navigating between Big Man Politics and Democratisation: Local Perceptions and Individual

Agency in Processes of Electoral Violence

Project Leader:

Mimmi Söderberg Kovacs

Project Period:


Participants: Mimmi Söderberg Kovacs (DPCR), Mats Utas (Nordic Africa Institute), Johanna

Söderström, Department of Government

Project Description

Democratic elections are often intended to mark the very shift from brutal and autocratic rule to democratic governance. Many instances have however shown that this transformation can be problematic and that the democratization process sometimes leads to undesirable outcomes, such as being the very cause of increased violence. Beyond the immediate human, material and societal costs that such violence imposes on developing states, it also risks undermining the legitimacy of the electoral process and the democratic political system. The violence that could surface during such circumstances also serves as a strong impetus for parties to mobilize which ultimately can lead to an armed conflict. This unwanted outcome brings out the question of what the underlying cause of election-related violence is and of how it best can be explained. Despite the importance of understanding such dynamics of election-related violence the areas still remains an understudied field of research. It is not until recently that the topic has gained attention in the academic literature, in spite of its dire policy relevance. Even though the issue has gained increased attention, there is still little known about the causes of election-related violence, particularly in those empirical settings where this phenomena is both most common and where it has the potentially most damaging consequences, namely in new and emerging democracies in the developing world.

The purpose of the project is to address this pertinent research gap. More specifically the project aims at closely examine the local political dynamics at the level of the concerned citizenry in order to better grasp how the logic of patronage politics in new democracies affect the citizens’ perceptions of, and attitudes towards, the electoral process, and in extension their inclination to participate in and support such acts. The project pose the question of: How does the logic of patronage politics in new democracies affect the citizens’ perceptions of, and attitudes towards, the electoral process, and in extension, their inclination to participate in and support acts of electoral violence? In order to understand the causal mechanisms at work in these election processes, there is a need to closely examine the local political dynamics at the level of the concerned citizenry of countries which are experiencing electoral-violence. The project will therefore carry out as an in-depth comparative sub-regional and sub-national empirical study of three West African countries, starting with Sierra Leone. The project is a collaboration of researchers from various research disciplines; peace and conflict studies, political science (political sociology) and anthropology, which all have extensive research experience on the subject and field experience from the region under study.

Main financial support: The Swedish Research Council


Project Title: From Wars of the Weak to Strong Peace. On the Conditions for Sustainable Peace

in Sub-Saharan Africa

Project Leader

Mimmi Söderberg Kovacs

Project Period


Project Participants

Kristine Höglund, Erik Melander, Desirée Nilsson, Mimmi Söderberg Kovacs

Project Description

How to attain high quality, ‘strong peace’ after civil war? Many wars end in a ‘no war, no peace’-situation. While civil war can indeed be seen as terminated when large-scale organised killing has ended, populations nevertheless often continue to suffer from poverty, sporadic violence and human rights violations. These hitherto largely unexplored aspects concerning the quality of the ensuing peace are investigated within the framework of the project entitled ’From Wars of the Weak to Strong Peace: On the Conditions for Sustainable Peace in Sub-Saharan Africa’ or the ‘Strong Peace project’, for short. Two explanatory factors are seen as central for the quality of peace: governance and resources.

The specific purposes of this project are to (1) develop the conceptualisation of ‘strong peace’ with a point of departure in the classic concepts of negative and positive peace, and to develop indicators for strong peace; and to (2) analyse how and by what mechanisms the interplay between governance and resources can account for the duration and quality of peace in weak and war-torn states. We focus on sub-Saharan Africa—an area that has seen both more civil wars and more peace agreements than any other part of the world—combining qualitative and quantitative theorydriven empirical research in several sub-projects. We aspire to produce a conceptual article on peace, governance and resources; two monographs on war termination and peacebuilding in Africa, respectively; as well as articles in peer-reviewed journals, drawing on both qualitative and quantative research methods.

Main Financial Support

The Bank of Sweden Tercentenary Foundation


Project Title: Turning Spoilers into Statesmen: Third Party Strategies for Sustainable Peace in

West Africa

Project Leader

Desirée Nilsson

Project Period

2008–2012 (the project was planned in 2007 with a planning grant from Sida/SAREC)

Project Participants

Desirée Nilsson and Mimmi Söderberg Kovacs

Project Description

The purpose of this project is to address the following research question: Why do some warring parties, following a peace agreement in a civil war, act as spoilers and resort to arms, while others turn into statesmen and remain committed to peace? This critical question is addressed through a two-folded research process. First, an analytical framework is developed based on previous research. Second, case studies of three peace processes in West Africa; Sierra Leone, Liberia, and Coté d’Ivoire, are conducted and field research is carried out. This project seeks to contribute to research and policy making on this topic by (1) identifying under what conditions warring parties choose peace over violence and (2) proposing appropriate third party strategies in preventing and managing spoiler violence so as to strengthen the process towards sustainable peace. The local collaborating partners are the Kofi Annan Institute for Conflict Transformation at the University of Liberia, and Centre for Development and Security Analysis (CEDSA) in Sierra Leone.

Main Financial Support

Sida/SAREC (The Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency)

Stefan Swartling Peterson

Department of Women’s & Children’s Health

ACCESS AND EXCESS: Point of Care Diagnostics and Prepackaged Drugs for Integrated Fever Management for Malaria, Pneumonia and Diarrhoea in Private Sector Drug Shops in Uganda

Nästan åtta miljoner barn dör i världen varje år före fem års ålder. Malaria, lunginflammation och diarre är de tre största dödsorsakerna, och visar sig som akut febersjukdom hos barn. Det finns effektiv behandling för att bota dessa barn, men i brist på tillgång till adekvat undersökning och diagnos får ofta barnen behandling för det både sjukvårdare o föräldrar är mest rädda för: malaria. Tyvärr visar det sig i våra studier från Uganda att barn som har lunginflammation även får malaria behandling, vilket leder till allvarlig sjukdom och död.

Den offentliga sjukvården har vårdcentraler vilka ofta ligger 5 kilometer från hemmet. Dessutom saknar de ofta läkemedel. Istället har en stor privat sektor vuxit fram med privatapotek o kiosker, ofta hemma i byn. I våra studier från Uganda har två av tre barn fått behandling som föräldrarna köpt i privata sektorn. Tyvärr är det ofta fel medicin i dålig kvalitet och otillräcklig dos, och många gånger ges medicinen i onödan, speciellt malariatabletter och antibiotika. Detta är både kostsamt för familjen och leder till resistensutveckling. Och till att 10% av barnen dör före fem års ålder, två av tre på grund av botbara sjukdomar.

Snabbtest för malaria har nu kommit. Tillsammans med ”äggklockor” för att äta andningsfrekvens som tecken på lunginflammation ger detta möjligheter att bättre diagnosticera barn, även hemma i byn. Byhälsovårdare utrustas nu med sådana diagnostika, och med dosförpackade mediciner mot malaria, lunginflammation och diarre i många länder i Afrika o Asien nu. Emellertid visar det sig att många föräldrar ändå fortsätter gå till privatapoteken, och på grund av läkemedelsbrist o utan betalning slutar många byhälsovårdare. Medans privatapoteken jobbar på…

Vi vill nu testa om snabbtest, dosförpackade läkemedel, och information, så kallad ”social marketing” kan ge fler barn tillgång till snabbare och bättre vård via privatapotek i Uganda. Och om det samtidigt går att reducera onödig användning av mediciner. Vi kommer att göra en kontrollerad studie där vi jämför två distrikt, ungefär som två svenska landsting, där privatapotek får snabbest o dosförpackade läkemedel mot malaria, lunginflammation och diarre, med ett kontrolldistrikt där privatapoteken fortsätter som förut, det vill säga att sälja malariatabletter till föräldrar utan att först träffa eller diagnosticera barnet. VI kommer att utvärdera projektet genom att mäta vårdsökande för sjuka barn före och efter projektet i både interventions och kontrolldistrikten, och jämföra förändringarna. VI kommer att mäta hur privatapoteken förskriver läkemedel, samt om föräldrarna ger hela doser som rekommenderat. Våra resultat kommer att peka på möjligheten att förbättra vård för barn genom dessa insatser, och är direkt relevanta för WHO och UNICEF, samt för Globala Fonden, som nu subventionerar effektiva malaria läkemedel till privata sektorn i nio Afrikanska länder, men inte vet hur introducera diagnostika eller annan behandling för att minska onödig, kostsam, och farlig övermedicinering, vilken även driver resistensutvecklingen.


Jill Trenholm

Department of Women’s and Children’s Health and the Centre for Gender Research,

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Violated Women, Traumatized Masculinities and Lost Children; An ethnographic focus on sexual violence perpetrated in war in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo.

Armed conflict involving sexual violence seriously affects determinants of health and provides challenges to immediate and long term care as well as ongoing public health action. Militarized masculinities and the perpetration of war time sexual violence needs to be better understood especially since gender-based violence precedes wartime occurrence and does not end when peace is declared. A deeper understanding of this phenomena is needed for theory development and to provide practical information to optimize the public health approaches to women, men and children in their home countries and as well as refugees in countries such as Sweden.

The aim of the project is to examine the phenomena of sexual violence taking place in the conflict in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). More specifically, the study aims to explore how a woman deals with: being violated, the current norm of stigma/marginalization, the birth of a child born of rape, her access to services, medical, social, economical etc. The study extends its investigation into how the affected woman's partner's rejection is related to constructs of masculinity and shame as well as an investigation into the fate of children born of rape. Mass trauma incurred by a war known for its high prevalence of sexual violence has serious consequences for not just the individuals but also the functioning of the whole community. This community wide impact and what motivates the sexually violating perpetrator in this context has not been adequately addressed. Interviews and written narratives of ex-child soldier boys and girls, who are seen as victims as well as perpetrators, serve to illuminate both the perpetrators’ motivations and the consequences of those victimized and the role of various inherent gendered constructions.

Employing an ethnographic methodology including semi-structured formal and informal interviews, observation and participation in daily life, this research was carried out over 4 different excursions to/immersions (total of 6 months) into the study area of South Kivu Province in eastern DRC.

Ulrika Trovalla

The Nordic Africa Institute

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Infrastructure as Divination: Urban life in the Postcolony

This anthropological/ethnological project explores vernacular modes of modernity, in which the informal, hybrid, paradoxical, fragmented, and pirated, are more than anomalies – the ‘shadow’ side, instead constitute the normality. By moving infrastructure to the forefront and focusing on its so often overlooked qualitative aspects, the aim is an innovative approach to the study of the modern African city. In the Nigerian city of Jos, as in most African cities, it is striking how its imperfections make the infrastructure very present in people’s everyday lives. Not just fixed and solid, the infrastructure comes into being through changing processes of flow and non-flow and presence and absence. Much effort is put into trying to predict these changing processes, and to discover new ways around the infrastructure’s shortcomings. At the same time, infrastructure becomes a system of signs through which people try to understand circumstances beyond those immediately at hand. Like when diviners deduce the state of the world through the stones they have thrown, the materiality of infrastructure turns highly elusive questions into tangible clues. Through ethnographic fieldwork, this project puts people’s own actions, experiences and readings at the centre of an analysis of the practices tied to infrastructure, and the ways in which it allows people to explore and divine elusive questions of the past, present and future of the city and the nation, and to whom the religiously and ethnically divided Jos and Nigeria belongs.







Kakamega, Kenya