The Acholi region in northern Uganda experienced two decades of armed conflict and forced displacement. Based on qualitative field research, this article analyses the role of family dynamics for the educational and livelihood trajectories of Acholi youth in rural areas, during and after the war.

The article demonstrates how young people’s opportunities during the war were directly affected by insecurity, and indirectly through the disruption of family life. At present, young people are still ‘struggling’: they work hard to respond to family obligations, which ultimately undermines their chances to progress.