The Karamoja Syndrome: transdisciplinary systems research informing policy and advocacy

Publikation: Beiträge in SammelwerkenAufsätze in SammelwerkenForschung


In the framework of the ‘Karamoja campaign’ coordinated by ACTED, an exploratory research process was carried out with students from the uni-versities of Lüneburg, Bordeaux, Groningen and Prague. The goal was to establish a systemic, transdisciplinary diagnosis of the contemporary devel-opment situation among pastoralist communities of Karamoja (North Eastern Uganda). To reach a transdisciplinary level of systems research, within the limited time and means of our project, we followed the “syndrome approach” (Syn-dromansatz) that was developed in 1993 by the German Advisory Council on Global Change (Wissenschaftlicher Beirat der Bundesregierung Globale Umweltveränderungen, WBGU), and then further developed by the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK). The approach uncovers local and global structures of unsustainable developments, identifying functional patterns (or “clinical pictures”) of interaction between humans and nature.
Regarding Karamoja, the approach allowed us to bring together the in-sights from ecological, demographic, economic, political, cultural, techno-logical, gender and other research perspectives. We took inspiration from the existing “syndrome approach” and also tailored its focus to the research questions of humanitarian and development studies, in consultation with the NGO ACTED. Among the many studied ‘symptoms’ are: climate change and desertification, loss of herding mobility, cattle raiding, different devel-opment processes (e.g. in terms of education or access to water) and various coping mechanisms among communities... The paper presents the results of the Syndrome Approach as carried out with the students of Leuphana University Lueneburg, and unveils the specif-ic characteristics of a “Karamoja Syndrome”. The potential relevance of this syndrome for other semi-arid pastoral areas, as well as its policy and advocacy implications, will also be discussed.
TitelSustainability in Karamoja? : rethinking the terms of global sustainability in a crisis region of Africa
HerausgeberDavid Knaute, Sacha Kagan
Anzahl der Seiten69
VerlagKöppe Verlag
ISBN (Print)978-3-89645-256-6
PublikationsstatusErschienen - 2009