Dr Winnie Bedigen


I am interested in international development, peacebuilding, gender, youth, justice (in South Sudan, Uganda, East and the Horn of Africa). My research focuses on how these issues can be understood in the context of African customs/indigenous knowledge and institutions.

Before joining the University of Leeds in September 2017, I held a part-time Lecturer post at Leeds Beckett University, where I taught Peace and Conflict Resolution modules. I obtained my PhD in May 2017 from the same university.

Research interests

My PhD research explored indigenous methods of peacebuilding that can and should be utilised in resolving the South Sudan civil war. By investigating the Nilotic Lwo peace cultures utilised in family, community and inter-ethnic conflicts, the research showed how these methods could also be useful for national peacebuilding. This research explored the course of South Sudan civil war, intra, inter-ethnic conflicts and the failed conventional intervention attempts from 1983 to 2015. This research examined conflict and peacebuilding theories/approaches commonly utilised in conventional peacebuilding. Also, this study's conceptualisation framework utilised Hegemony, Afrocentric and Cultural theories as lenses to provide contextual understanding to peacebuilding. This study argued for the suitability of some aspects of indigenous methods to modern/protracted conflicts because they help sustain peace at community levels. Ethnographic and anthropologic methods were utilised to gather knowledge and experiences in indigenous peacebuilding and civil wars. The sample population included Nilotic Lwo, Nilotic and some non-Nilotic ethnic groups.

My current research engagement is focused on community peacebuilding and development.

In peacebuilding, I engage with communities in some areas of Magwi County and Juba in South Sudan, and Northern Uganda (i.e. Agago, Amuru, Gulu, Kitgum, Nwoya, Lamwo, Pader and Omoro Districts); including some communities in Teso, Eastern Uganda. In particular, the Prison-Community Reintegration project focuses on customary-related dispute resolution by promoting local mediation, reconciliation and peace education. 

In development, issues of concern for Global Development challenges at the core of my research interests include justice, rights, poverty, WaSH (water, sanitation and hygiene) and community engagement. Working in partnership with some international and local NGO’s as well as Community-Based Organisations (CBOs), my research focuses on participatory approaches that illuminate subtle norms, promote local agency through advocacy, and mobilisation of resources for peacebuilding and development.

<h4>Research projects</h4> <p>Any research projects I'm currently working on will be listed below. Our list of all <a href="https://essl.leeds.ac.uk/dir/research-projects">research projects</a> allows you to view and search the full list of projects in the faculty.</p>

Student education

I teach at both undergraduate and postgraduate levels.

Currently supervising three PhD students:

  • Vivian Nsiah- (Fraxinus Trust scholar): The intersections of gender and water governance in northern Ghana.
  • Patricia Tshomba: Urban Agriculture- exploring women’s agency and action in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
  • Mohamed Abdi: Hybrid Peacebuilding in Somalia

Current postgraduate researchers

<h4>Postgraduate research opportunities</h4> <p>The school welcomes enquiries from motivated and qualified applicants from all around the world who are interested in PhD study. Our <a href="https://phd.leeds.ac.uk">research opportunities</a> allow you to search for projects and scholarships.</p>