This programme supports the strategic objective that looks at promoting peaceful neighborliness, where instruments and culture of violence are transformed for development. (Micah: 4.4/5). The programme is inspired by Christ’s Mission as well as the Decade to Overcome Violence (DOV) in which Churches sought reconciliation and Peace 2001 – 2010 an initiative of the World Council of Churches.
The DOV called on us to: work together for peace, justice, and reconciliation at all levels – local, regional, and global. To embrace creative approaches to peace building which are consonant with the spirit of the gospel; interact and collaborate with local communities, secular movements, and people of other living faiths towards cultivating a culture of peace; walk with people who are systematically oppressed by violence, and to act in solidarity with all struggling for justice, peace, and the integrity of creation; repent for our complicity in violence, and to engage in theological reflection to overcome the spirit, logic, and practice of violence. The programme is guided by expected key results as highlighted below:
- Government and stakeholders engaged in policy and community practices that promote conflict sensitivity, conflict early warning and prevention
- Peaceful management and mediation of conflicts at local, national, regional and international levels enhanced.
- Contribute to restoration of community safety in the Greater Northern Uganda and ensuring people in these areas fully participate and benefit from the socio-economic growth including DDR
- Community safety, management and control of small arms and light weapons (SALW) at various levels and advocacy against proliferation and misuse in the NAP strengthened
- Good neighborliness in the Great Lakes and Horn of Africa strengthened
The programme takes on a number of initiatives among which:
1. Conflict sensitivity, conflict early warning and response
In an effort to contribute to the reduction in conflicts at various levels, UJCC undertakes a number of initiatives:
Electoral violence, mediation and peaceful resolution
Religious Leaders, youth leaders, community and cultural leaders are trained in PRMT, mediation and Conflict transformation skills. The training targeted districts that are known as “Hot Spots” in the political context and these included Abim, Dokolo, Amuru, Adjumani, Kibaale, Kasese, Bushenyi, Rukungiri, Kabale, Semabule, Masaka, Kampala, Mukono, Iganga, Tororo, Mbale, Sironko, Bukedea and Soroti. The trained participants provided support in mediation of conflicts but also created awareness on the need for peaceful co-existence.
The Uganda Peace Policy
UJCC together with other stakeholders continue to engage with Government on issues of having a national peace policy in place. UJCC together with other CSOs are working on the Uganda Peace Policy with the Office of the Prime Minister.
In preparation for the enactment of the National Peace Policy, 20 religious leaders have been empowered to participate in inputting in the national peace policy, and also monitor its implementation.
Advocacy for a policy and framework on peaceful conflict resolution and reconciliation
UJCC is at the forefront in advocating for a national Policy on Peace and Reconciliation due to the fact that the country continues to be marred with various conflicts caused by different factors. A number of conflicts in the country especially in the Northern Uganda conflict have led to a North – South divide in the country. All these call for a policy and framework for peaceful conflict resolution and reconciliation. This advocacy led to a development of a policy paper that was used as tool of engagement with Government on the matter.
District Peace Committees
With regard to Conflict Early Warning and Early Response (CEWER), UJCC made contributions to the development of guidelines to establish District Peace Committees in Entebbe and Mbale.
2. Peaceful management and mediation of conflicts
The Uganda Peace Village
With the need to build a culture of peace, UJCC explored how the church in Uganda could play a prophetic role in peace building after launching the Decade to overcome violence in Kampala 2001 for the FECCLAHA region.
UJCC seeks to contribute to reversing current approaches to violent conflict management and to promote peaceful conflict management and popularize a culture of peace. This reversal is done through sensitization programmes on alternative conflict management, by multiplying conflict resolution and peace building skills in the communities, and by providing supportive structures for advocating for conflict resolution and peace building policies at the national level.
UJCC also seeks to reduce the vulnerability of women and the youth by integrating peace building with economic empowerment through provision of economic livelihood skills trainings and startup capital to trainees from various parts of the country.
With the acquisition of 10 acres of land from Mukono Diocese, at Nakanyonyi in Mukono district, the council is constructing a village with a capacity of 144. The structural composition of the Peace Village is: State of the art conference and training facilities; 8 cottages with each having 4 single units, 12 cottages of the dormitory type with cubicles of a capacity of 8 people each; 8 executive cottages, with a capacity for 2 people and designed for high profiled persons.
The village is adjacent to the Mukono Diocese Polytechnic School and has running water and electricity. At the moment, four cottages have been fully completed and are used to accommodate beneficiaries of the Peace Village programmes.
Training programmes are also held at the Uganda Peace Village and these include; trainings in Peace building and conflict transformation, mediation, organic agriculture and modern farming, entrepreneurship, and elementary book keeping and accounting.
The Village currently runs demonstration gardens that aid in the practical illustrations of organic agriculture and modern farming.
3. Restoration of community safety in Greater Northern Uganda
The Peace Recovery and Development Plan (PRDP)
Communities in the districts of Dokolo, Kaberamaido, Pader and Dokolo are empowered to monitor government programmes with the most recent being the Peace Recovery and Development Plan (PRDP).
Communities in these sub counties held their leaders accountable on funds received under PRDP. Citizens further demanded for sub county leaders to pin up the PRDP information on public notice boards to enhance access to information. Citizens engaged the local leaders during the sub county citizens Forums where they made follow ups on promises made by their leaders and also raised their concerns on different issues affecting them.
4. Community safety, management and control of small arms and light weapons (SALW) at various levels and advocacy against proliferation and misuse in the NAP strengthened Proliferation of Small Arms and Light Weapons (SALW)
UJCC continue working on initiatives that empower communities to engage and campaign against SALW.
Community safety and control of misuse of Small Arms
Promoting community safety and control of misuse of Small Arms and in recognition of UJCC’s role in Karamoja, UJCC was selected by the Kotido Peace Committee chaired by the Resident District Commissioner to facilitate and accompany the committee on the Conflict Early Warning and Response as a unit of IGAD to follow up violent and massive cattle rustling by the Kenyan Turkana from the Jie in Karamoja.
UJCC worked with representatives of the District Committee to produce a fundable proposal that was expected to facilitate conflict resolution between the two ethnic cattle rustlers with the mediation of the members of the District Peace Committee. The proposal was written, submitted and funded by CEWERU – Rapid Response Fund. The selection of UJCC to accompany the Kotido Peace Committee is a sign of confidence in the work of UJCC in the region and Uganda at large.
Annual Small Arms Week of Action
UJCC facilitates and participates in Annual Small Arms week of Action that are held in June of every year. UJCC conducts media launches of the week of action, and coordinates activities that are lined up to mark the week.
5. Good neighborliness in the Great Lakes and Horn of Africa
Cross border peace building
At the North Eastern border with Kenya in the pastoralists’ communities, peace committees in Moroto, Kotido and Kaboong were engaged in early warning and early response mechanisms to ensure no violence takes place. The committees which UJCC sits on worked with government authorities and the Army to trace incidences of cattle rustling in their communities.
Regional peace building Networks
UJCC with its experience in peace building at national, the great lakes region and at International level, it has engagements with other CSOs in promoting peace building.