Imagining Gender Futures in Uganda – IMAGENU


Start date: 1 October, 2018 End date: 30 September, 2022 Project type: Research collaboration projects in Danida priority countries (Window 1) Project code: 17-07-AU Countries: Uganda Thematic areas: Gender equality, State building, governance and civil society, Lead institution: Aarhus University (AU), Denmark Partner institutions: Gulu University (GU), Uganda University of Copenhagen (UCPH), Denmark Project website: go to website (the site might be inactive) Project coordinator: Lotte Meinert Total grant: 9,997,626 DKK

Project summary

IMAGENU will provide new perspectives on gender and futures in Uganda by placing marriage and its decline in focus, showing how this fundamental gender relation implicates livelihoods, health, education and people’s future imaginations. It will investigate new forms of gender relations that are replacing formal marriage. IMAGENU will be comparative in four ways: It will examine male and female situations; trace changes by comparing grandparents, parents, and youth; attend to socio-economic differences; and compare northern and eastern Uganda.

Despite the recent attention to gender issues, there has been little research on trends in the decline in marriage.

The overall purpose of IMAGENU is to enhance research capacity by generating new knowledge about how changing patterns of gender partnerships relate to livelihood, education, and reproductive and mental health issues. This will contribute to development of relevant social gender policies, and create debate in the wider public.

The project design is comparative and will draw mainly on qualitative methods, investigating post-conflict northern Uganda and eastern Uganda. IMAGENU will focus on 4 overall questions:

1. How do men and women imagine futures of marriage and child filiation in light of current far reaching changes in patterns of partnership?

2. How are gendered livelihood possibilities affected by changes in partnership and child filiation?

3. How do patterns of gendered reproductive and mental health affect and reflect changing patterns of partnership?

4. How are changing partnership patterns related to education?

We will collaborate with the NGOs Promundo and International Research on Women (IRW), and BSU at Gulu University.
The backbone of IMAGENU is 4 PhDs and 3 post docs, co-supervised by senior Danish and Ugandan researchers.

We will write scholarly articles and book chapters; produce policy briefs; create public debates through radio and video documentaries.


Midterm report:

The IMAGENU project is formally halfway through its project period. The staff and researchers are now all in place and the PhD programme in Gulu has finally been accredited. Three annual workshops have been held where international scholars and local stakeholders have presented and commented on the research projects of the IMAGENU researchers.
Data collection and the dissemination of research have been ongoing since the beginning of the project, but the general project progress was affected by the covid-19 pandemic in 2020 and 2021. In this period fieldwork was limited. Some researchers were able to adjust their fieldwork to an online format like Hanne Mogensen and Julaina Obika who through social media followed men and women based in different parts of the Middle East, whereas others are still waiting to resume fieldwork. Conference attendance was also affected by the pandemic with a number of conferences cancelled in 2020, but international collaborations are continuing with a joint conference proceedings being published and a joint panel forthcoming in 2021.

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