Hawassa University
Hawassa University, Ethiopia.
Photo: Ken Opprann

Borderland dynamics in East Africa

Cooperation between UiB and University of Khartoum.

Project title: Borderland Dynamics in East Africa - A network program for capacity building within departments of social anthropology in East African Universities


In East Africa borderland issues relate to a series of problems that contribute to marginalization of borderland communities. Some of these problems relate to legal and illegal trade, arms, intergroup conflict, land disputes, oil and natural resources, trafficking, refugees, migration, and spreading of epidemics.

Borderland issues affect especially women and children, as well as marginalized groups and local communities. Borderland areas are also areas of environmental challenges, such as drought, overexploitation of meagre resources, and climate change. These problems need to be included in political decisions that affect the everyday life of people living in the borderland areas.  

Universities for development

The project goal is to develop capacity of three higher education institutions in teaching, research and dissemination of information on borderland issues. The focus will be on increasing competence and advocacy on the specific aspects of borderland situations, such as human rights, women rights, rights of marginal borderland groups, environmental concerns as well as human health and general human development concerns.

The network partners will develop a new and specialized regional competence on borderland issues, and strengthen their ability to operate and contribute to a wider enabling environment by offering insights and new perspectives.

Institutional capacity building and dialog

The network partners will contribute with teaching and supervision of MA and PhD students, based on a sandwich model, and develop curricula on borderland issues. The teaching and research capacities will be increased by improving physical infrastructure and making resources available for fieldwork, publications and international networking.

The project will also seek to contribute to opening up dialogue between the different stakeholders, from local and regional representatives of the state, to local groups and organizations. The intention is to strengthen the capacity of the universities to play a role in governance and policy fields by addressing relevant development problems in borderland areas.

Key goals and achievements

Overall goal

Empowering borderland communities in Ethiopia, Sudan and Uganda to voice their special concerns in policy dialogues

The objectives of the project are

  1. To improve gendered sensitive teaching and research capacity on borderland issues of anthropology departments at the University of Khartoum, Addis Ababa University, and Makerere University
  2. To strengthen regional capacity through collaboration between the three universities
  3. To strengthen links between universities and various processes of public policy formulation around borderland issues
  4. To improve departmental infrastructures
Published 24.06.2013
Last updated 16.02.2015

Total budget

2013-2018: 17,5 million NOK

Contact persons for the project

Dr. Munzoul Assal, Department of Sociology and Anthropology, University of Khartoum, Sudan
E-mail: massal@uofk.edu

Dr. Fekadu Adunga Tufa, Head, Department of Social Anthropology, Addis Ababa University, Ethiopia
E-mail: fek.adugna@gmail.com

Dr. Eria Olowo Onyango, Department of Sociology and Anthropology, Makerere University, Uganda
E-mail: onyangolo@ss.mak.ac.ug

Prof. Leif Manger, Department of Social Anthropology, University of Bergen, Norway
E-mail: leif.manger@sosantr.uib.no