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Engaging the youth is a big part of peacebuilding in Uganda

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By Staff Writer

Ugandan National Non-Governmental Organisation, ACORD Uganda (The Agency for Cooperation and Research in Development) recently held a webinar where they shared lessons on peacebuilding in Uganda. The lessons were drawn from the Generation for Generation (G4G) dialogues between youth and local government leaders in the districts of Bundibugyo, Kasese and Wakiso. One of the key take-outs from the webinar that was attended by youth representatives and ACORD Uganda staff, was the issue of engaging the youth as a big part of peacebuilding in the country.

Speaking to the youth through the webinar, ACORD Uganda’s Project Officer for M&E who was also the moderator of the session said that with support from UNFPA, they are organizing a very proactive engagement with the youth leaders and potential youth leaders who are enthusiastic in making sure they expand the peacebuilding initiatives in key conflict hotspots in Bundibugyo, Kasese, and Wakiso.

John Okwera was supplemented by Catherine Muhindi Atwine, a Program Coordinator in ACORD by saying that they are talking peace and peacebuilding with the youth in Uganda as a focus since the youth make up the biggest percentage of the country’s population.

“Uganda has seen and suffered all types of conflict. It is not just the political conflict but includes things like tribalism, land disputes among others. The biggest part of the population in Uganda is youthful. This project comes in to make sure that this big part of the population is engaged and is at the center and is empowered and supported to take charge of peacebuilding where they are involved.”

Catherine went on to add that; “This project is funded by UNFPA and we are well aligned to the SDG 16 which talks about peace and justice and strong institutions, for the young people to encourage their voices to come out.”

“What do the youth understand by peace, are we speaking for them or they are actually speaking for themselves. We are counting on them to be the leaders of tomorrow because they matter and we want to create a platform where their voices are heard. This is being done through their leaders and institutions.”

It should be noted that people are always saying that the youth are at the forefront of everything, but sometimes they are incited and they don’t know what is going on much as they are taking part in it. ACORD Uganda wants to bring young people on board for them to come out and be involved in peacebuilding processes. They also want to empower the youth because this means they are empowering an entire future generation.

As a nonpartisan organization, ACORD Uganda does not subscribe to any political, religious, and pressure institution, but is an NGO that seeks to work to empower the vulnerable communities by playing a facilitation role. Through training and capacity building of the youth leadership in the focus districts, the youth have been helped to understand issues of peace and how the youth can be brought to the forefront. This has also been extended to issues of gender equality since inclusiveness is an important part when discussing peace for everyone.

Catherine finished her submission in the webinar by quoting one of the youth leaders who had this to say during one of the G4G. “The youth are always being ignored and they are looked at negatively even when they try to do positive things in society, they still need inspiration for everyone to recognize that they have contributed positively.”

The webinar
was also attended by Lapwony Patrick Loum( Project officer), Wenaheereza Conrad
(A youth leader, Kampala), Kwagala Moses (Staff in charge of the project in
Kampala) and Kiconco Annah (Project Officer in charge of the project in Kasese),
among others.

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