Field research in Bukavu 2

September 5-19
Author Carolien Jacobs

Ending phase 1

From June to early September, the local researchers Innocent, Joachim and Stanislas continued data collection in Bukavu for two days per week. During this period they sent regular reports to Carolien and these reports were then discussed during Skype sessions.

In September, Carolien spent another two weeks in Bukavu. The aim of this visit was twofold; to wrap up phase 1 of the research, and to start phase 2. To end phase 1, we sat together again for two days and talked about the findings thus far and the extent at which differences and similarities were found in the different suburbs of Bukavu. We also prepared a workshop to inform a wide range of stakeholders about our findings thus far.

Our workshop took place September 18 at ISDR. It attracted about 35 people, including representatives of scientific institutes, NGOs (Congolese and international), and the state (ministry, but also a number of Chefs de quartier/cellule/avenue). Radio Okapi and Radio ISDR did short interviews with us for their radio emissions. The workshop had a twofold objective: 1) getting feedback from people we had interviewed before; 2) raising interest in our research from people we had not yet interviewed. For the workshop each researcher identified one ‘case study’ to present. These case studies shed light on the experiences of three different IDPs; a problem or dispute with which they struggle; the steps they have taken to overcome this problem; and the challenges they have faced along the path to justice. In order to be able to present comprehensive case studies, the researchers had all talked to various stakeholders involved.

Starting phase 2

Apart from ending phase 1, we also talked about the way in which we wanted to continue data collection for phase 2. We agreed that it would be important in this phase to return to people that had been interviewed in the first phase. Disputes evolve over time and it is interesting to follow what happens after a certain type of justice intervention has been sought: Do disputes really end, or do they linger on in a different way? Do people seek alternative modes of justice if they are not satisfied with the state of affairs? In addition, we felt the need to better understand the extent at which our data are representative for a larger sample. Our first phase of the research has been rather exploratory in nature, which meant that we obtained data about a relatively wide number of topics in relation to internally displaced and their experiences with justice. In the second phase we therefore decided to pay more attention to finding out to what extent cases that we had come across in phase one were typical, or rather a-typical. This knowledge will strengthen our arguments and increase our understanding of ways in which IDPs seek and experience justice.

From September to December, Stanislas, Innocent and Joachim again continued data collection and provided reports on this to Carolien. We are now nearing the end of December and also nearing the end of data collection. To us it has been a very interesting and fruitful period. In the coming months we will work on our analysis and reporting. In April/May we hope to carry out a third period of data collection. Stay in contact to hear more about this in the coming months!