Working for peace in Uganda

As voters in Uganda prepare for a contentious general election, CWS has worked extensively to provide community leaders with training in peace building and ways to resolve conflicts without violence.

uganda peacebuilding meeting
Community leaders discuss peacebuilding strategies for the upcoming 2011 elections.
Photo: CWS East Africa

As voters in Uganda prepare for a contentious general election, CWS has worked extensively to provide community leaders with training in peace building and ways to resolve conflicts without violence. There have been reports of sporadic violence but none in areas where CWS has offered its training.

Two rival candidates – incumbent Yoweri Museni and Dr. Kizza Besigye – are struggling to gain the final votes in what has been a very close race for President. There have been reports of fraud from the Democracy Monitoring Group that, combined with ethnic tensions, threaten to provoke violence.

Church World Service started its Ugandan Peace Village in 2009, to bring local leaders together to mitigate violence caused by political unrest and local conflict. The program provides training on peace building and conflict transformation, while also providing an incentive to peace through economic empowerment.

Entrepreneurship trainings are part of each peace training event. Participants are eligible for seed capital to start a small business to expand their local resource base, which can lead to a multiplier effect in their community.

Seventy-two local leaders were trained in 2010 to work in conflict transformation and mediation for electoral conflicts in 20 districts identified as hotspots for violence from previous elections.

Though violence has erupted in districts which were not covered by the project, Early Warning Conflict Monitors and Mediators have managed to mitigate the eruption of violent inter-political party and intra-political party conflicts. Much credit goes to non-violence training and messages in churches, mosques and other public places.

In cases where supporters have exhibited signs of impending physical confrontation, the trained mediators have sought the intervention of high profile religious and cultural leaders, who helped bring conflicting parties to the table and cautioned them against inciting violence.  On the community level, there has been restoration of family relations between husbands and wives who have been in conflict emanating from divergent political inclination.

How to help

Contributions to support the work of Church World Service may be made online or by phone (800.297.1516), or may be sent to your denomination or to Church World Service, P.O. Box 968, Elkhart, IN 46515.

Media Contact:
Lesley Crosson, 212-870-2676, lcrosson@churchworldservice.org
Jan Dragin, 781-925-1526, jdragin@gis.net


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