Apr 2013 24

Learning to work together: conflict resolution within GRG’s groups

Posted in Featured, News

Reconciliation isn’t easy. Group work that bring together ex-combatants and other community members certainly isn’t.

All of GRG’s groups go through challenging stages during their development. The group of Warib Cing (meaning ‘Let’s hold hands’) is no different. The group has had a hard time in learning how to work together. This is a natural stage in group psychology, but it nevertheless requires a lot of cooperation and understanding to overcome.

The Warib Cing group soon after we meet them the first time.

When GRG first heard that Warib Cing was undergoing some internal difficulties, we spent a lot of time with the group to really understand their problems, and heard issues of clan favouritism, aggressive leadership, and alcohol-related issues.

Abalo Eveline, explained that,

“A poor attitude towards group activities, a lack of trust in the leadership, and alcoholism on the side of men is affecting our progress and relationship.”

These are social challenges that we see across post-war affected northern Uganda.

The group proposed a formal conflict resolution meeting, where the members could voice their concerns. We caught up with the group at the meeting, and brought along a Chairman from one of GRG’s successful groups to help facilitate the discussion.

Group members discuss their leadership challenges and ways forward.

With everyone confident to air their thoughts, it was agreed that the group would re-elect its leadership committee (including Chairman, Secretary and Treasurer) and start having their meetings at a different location with easier access for everyone.

A few weeks later, the group met again for elections. We attended, and were excited to see all members turn out to elect their new leadership committee.

Members vote for their new group leaders.

Following the election, all group assets were handed over to the new leadership and group members were invited to share their thoughts. One member told that,

“Our new Chairman has been a leader in a number of groups within our community and I am confident our group is going to work well together, as we all have entrusted him with our votes.”

Francis, GRG’s Program Officer, shakes hands with the new Chairman as he receives the group assets.


The group has been successfully meeting for its village savings over the last month, and have started investing together in a range of livelihood projects including groundnut and vegetable production. Soon, we’ll post a follow-up blog  from our Psychosocial and Trauma Advisor to help us understand group psychology processes, and why – like breaking a bone – we can expect groups to grow back stronger after incidents like this.

By Christopher Maclay

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