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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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Specials/Features

King’s College Budo: An Era of Misogyny, Sexism and Discrimination

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King’s College Budo may not be the Heaven that it is sold to be. Last week, old girls of Budo took to Twitter to reveal the hell tales from their experiences studying at Budo. For many souls, the experiences came as shocking revelations. Parents with hopes of getting their girls to Budo had to rethink their choices. Other parents with daughters at Budo were forced to reconsider their decisions.

But what really happened at Budo? How did the school roll down the ugly alleys of abuse, misogyny and discrimination? It is said by the old girls that the boys and teachers never stopped reminding the girls of how they should count themselves lucky sharing a class with the boys. The concept of male superiority was drilled into everyone at the school. Girls considered it a privilege if a male student talked to them. The boys ran a rating system fully endorsed by the school administration. In here, they rated the girls on the scale of beauty and brains.

In addition to this sexism, the low-income students didn’t have it any easier. The caste system at Budo didn’t spare them either. It was a crime for one to be broke at Budo. “You could see it when Budonias joined other schools at A-level, they would try to import the same caste system,”says someone who studied with former Budonians.

According to the girls, “it’s institutional sexism. All we are seeking is a better life for the girls who will enter the gates of Budo. Girl lives, broke lives, all these lives matter, and they should really matter at Budo,” Paula noted. Budo is in the limelight for failing to live up to the values that it espouses. Many girls’ lives and self-esteem was crushed by the mere fact that they studied at Budo, just like the lives of many low-income students.

Budo is also the only mixed school in Uganda that has prom with other girls’ schools in the country. It doesn’t happen anywhere else. The fact that this is actively encouraged as culture is proof that the situation is almost beyond redemption.

If one is looking for patriarchy at display, they should look no further than Budo. “Basically the guys would call us ‘men in skirts’, to them, we were to ugly, that they would rather spend weeks talking to their fellow boys than to us. Budo is nothing but the capital of emotional bullying. Parents should know that their daughters are going through constant hell,” says Trisha, an old girl. “Can you imagine a girl is not allowed to be a Head Prefect at Budo? The post is reserved for the boys. When a boy sexually harassed you, you had to keep quiet. No one would believe you. You would end up suffering even more,” Trisha continues.

As many noted, this is just the beginning to unpacking years of trauma.

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Survivors of 2010 terrorist attacks give testimonies of how Prophet Mbonye prophesied tragedy before it happened in new documentary

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By Our Reporter

Several Christians and followers of Prophet Elvis Mbonye, of Zoe International Ministries, who survived the 2010 Al- Shabaab terrorist attacks in Uganda that occurred at Kyadondo Rugby grounds and Ethiopian Village, Restaurant in Kabalagala, respectively, have given touching testimonies of how the man of God prophesied the horrible incident just a month before it happened!

In their chilling confessions, the Christians, most of them survivors of the terrorist attacks at Kyadondo Rugby Grounds, gave their confessions in a new documentary filmed by Zoe Ministries, in which they all revealed how Prophet Mbonye told them during a conference held in May 2010 that he had received a vision from God about a pending terrorist attack in Uganda, although none of them knew it would really happen just a month after the prophesy.

It is now exactly 10 years since the brutal attacks on July 10th, 2010, which left over 74 people dead and at least 71 injured after the Al-Shabaab terrorists exploded bombs in a fully-packed rugby field where soccer fans were watching the 2010 FIFA World Cup finals.

Frank Kakooza, who survived the bomb blast at Kyadondo Rugby grounds, said that “I just heard a blast. I can’t even tell you how loud it was But the State has to come out clearly and respect the word of prophesy that comes out of Prophet Mbonye, because he has been saying things which have come to pass. For instance he prophesied about Trump, The choppers, this bloodshed that happened in Lugogo; now why don’t you talk to that person? Fore warned is forewarned; Why wouldn’t anyone want to listen to him?”

Judith Akankwasa, another survivor, added that “we were screaming and scampering for our lives. Not many of us; really few of us had sensed that this was an attack. What made it even more interesting was the sound behind us of a second explosion. My instinct told me to take cover and I was crying to God; have mercy on me. I repent. I repent. But I was astonished to later know that the man of God had actually seen this before hand and he had endeavoured to warn his people. This message was out there although it wasn’t received by everyone, it was out there. I am amazed at what God can do.”

Robert Semujju, whose head was partly shattered by shrapnel from the bomb, miraculously survived the explosion, said that; “I was seated, watching the match. Then all of a sudden I don’t know what happened next. My skull had been blown to the extent that even part of it was shattered and it was open. I think God never wanted me to see that situation anymore. Because after Lugogo, me I went to the mortuary directly. It’s by his God grace, I am here. But later I recalled the man (Mbonye) had prophesied about it. Meaning that through him, God had warned about what was going to come.

Annet Bananuka, a teacher, said that “When I heard news of the attack, I remembered that I had been at a conference during which Prophet Mbonye had warned of the first ever terrorist attack in Uganda. He said he could see an explosion. He could see bloodshed.”

Prophet Mbonye has since prophesied about several other events that have come to pass. For instance, in 2012 he prophesied that Uganda would be engulfed in grief after losing some of her citizens in a plane crash and asked Christians to pray about it. Just a few weeks after he had pronounced the prophesy Uganda lost gallant soldiers who perished in a chopper crash that occurred on Mount Kenya. Seven out of a 28-member crew lost their lives when the Mi-24 chopper failed to negotiate the 17,000 foot altitude of Mt Kenya.

Watch the testimonies in video below.\

 

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Dishonesty is causing conflict at family and community level, how ACORD Uganda is tackling this in Wakiso

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By Staff Writer

“Children of God are peaceful, where there is conflict, then they focus all efforts on making peace.” These were the words of Rev. Father Kato Adolf while he was talking about peacebuilding to the different staff members from several organizations in Bundibugyo district recently.

Naturally, families are supposed to peaceful to each other and exercise love as these are the same people who live together, care about each other and share several other things. They are children of God; they are supposed to be peaceful. But when conflict arises, it must be changed to peace.

Dishonesty is one of the issues causing conflict at family and community levels in Uganda. ACORD Uganda has however been proactive enough as to take the first step and tackle this issue in Wakiso. The dishonesty in some families in Wakiso area are not caused by alien issues, it always zeros down to the issue of openness. This is not limited to the families themselves but also cuts across to the leadership. Through partnerships such as the one with Girls for Girls (G4G) dialogue, that aims to help young women develop the courage, vision, and skills to take on public leadership, ACORD Uganda is acting fast in Wakiso district to tackle this conflict.

Speaking at the G4G dialogue session recently, Nabikofu Fatumah one of the panelists of the day confirmed that dishonesty is causing conflict at family and community level. She advocated for openness among families and the community leadership to be able to foster peace. “Lack of transparency by the community leaders across the region. When this is achieved, the issue of dishonesty at family and community level in Wakiso district will be a thing of the past.”

What makes this issue worse is that not only Wakiso district is affected but several other districts in Uganda. It may not have happened by now, but it could happen eventually. Many youths have all witnessed conflict in one way or another and some have gone further to find out what has caused it.

The good news is that conflict negotiation, reconciliation, mediations and several other methods have been employed by ACORD Uganda to curb on conflict in the families and communities of Wakiso district and Uganda at large through peacebuilding.

The onus is on the youth of society to identify these conflicts and speak out openly about them so that we can all start a new journey to peacebuilding since we are all children of God who are supposed to be peaceful.

About ACORD Uganda

The Agency for Cooperation and Research in Development – Uganda (ACORD-U) is a Ugandan National Non-Governmental Organisation that has worked in Uganda since 1979 with headquarters in Nsambya-Kampala and several other offices across the Country. ACORD-U aspires to contribute towards Uganda’s Development and Humanitarian Responses for Vulnerable Communities in Rural and Peri-Urban Areas. Currently, ACORD-U Implements interventions in more than 23 Districts in the South-western, Western, Northern, West-Nile, and Eastern Parts of Uganda.

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Specials/Features

A peaceful Uganda that starts with you and how you can play your part.

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By Staff Writer

We know that we all have a role to play when it comes to our societies. No matter who you are, how old you are, or what you do, this is a matter that concerns us all. However, the youth who make up over 70 percent of the Ugandan population, have an even bigger role since the future belongs to them. 

One of the key things about being happy and being able to make a positive contribution to society is having peace. This enables anyone be young or old to express their full potential and for the youth is helps them to harness their potential for sustaining the peace in their society.

Even when you look at securing a peaceful, just and inclusive society, it will always come back to you. The youth may wonder what it takes. Some may say, it has all be done and it still being done. This is the point where the same question that has always come up shows its face, why is our society still the same or worse becoming the opposite of what we want it to be? The interesting thing about all these questions is that it will always come back to you. What are you doing to achieve peacebuilding in your society?

The truth is nothing will or can change unless you change. You start are the one to start and we will follow. You are the one to lead and we will follow. You are the one to act and we will follow.

You would never be peaceful and face war, you would never be just and meet injustice, when you are peaceful and just, your environment will be inclusive and complete.

The takeout here for Ugandan youth is to be peaceful and just to create an inclusive society for all. The fear and violence will not have to even exist with ladies and gentlemen of peace and justice in Uganda. 

Remember the words of Rev. Mukonzo Ezra Yongeza at the ACORD Uganda peacebuilding training in Kasese about the youth position in peacebuilding, he said; “The youth are the wall of every building the iron sheets are the elders who are supported by the youth who are the majority and energetic. The moment the youth are equipped, the world changes. The adults have tried for many years and things are the way they are, the youth need to be supported too.”

We all need to do our part to foster peaceful, just, and inclusive societies in Uganda that are free from fear and violence. 

About ACORD Uganda

The Agency for Cooperation and Research in Development – Uganda (ACORD-U) is a Ugandan National Non-Governmental Organisation that has worked in Uganda since 1979 with headquarters in Nsambya-Kampala and several other offices across the Country. ACORD-U aspires to contribute towards Uganda’s Development and Humanitarian Responses for Vulnerable Communities in Rural and Peri-Urban Areas. Currently, ACORD-U Implements interventions in more than 23 Districts in the South-western, Western, Northern, West-Nile, and Eastern Parts of Uganda.

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