Home > Publications > USAID Helps Reduce Tribal Tensions between South Sudan Refugees
Women attending a community dialogue

In February 2017, the rate of tribal attacks and abuses among South Sudan refugee communities in the villages of Katiku I&II Arua district significantly reduced, thanks to the intervention of USAID SAFE through its local partner Rural Initiative for Community Empowerment – West Nile (RICE WN).  Uganda is home to over 700,000 refugees most of whom are from South Sudan. The refugees who are mostly drawn from the Dinka and Nuer tribes, the two biggest and feuding tribes in South Sudan tend to export their hatred for each other into the refugee camps

RICE WN supports cultural groups among the refugee communities. The groups perform music, dance and drama shows every Sunday during which pass on messages of peaceful coexistence. Evidence from the field suggests that these messages are working to defuse tensions between refugee groups. The Chairman of the Katiru 1Refugee Welfare Committee (WRC), Mr. William Kelual said “There are no more abuses and fights reported at this office regarding tribal differences compared to previous when we would register and resolve at least four cases of tribal tensions every week.”

Another successful RICE intervention has been around access to water, where tension at water points in refugee settlements Ocea A&B and Katiku I&II has been eased. This was after RICE WN brought the issue of water shortage to the attention of Danish Refugee Council (DRC), the lead agency for water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH), to pump more water to those areas.  Mr. Andrew Wour, a community member, commented, “We thank RICE-WN for the dialogue, we now have water in abundance, women no longer go to water points at night and no fights anymore.”

Thomas Kuel, the RWCI of Ocea A&B, confirmed that the dialogue helped to amplify their cry for water since more water was being taken to the new villages from Ocea zone, Ms. Toma Saidi, one of the women representatives said “the water crisis has ended at last. With the dry season we have been suffering so much yet you see trucks going with water to other places like Ofua. We now have water in abundance, no night movements, no fights now.”