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.
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
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
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.