of the 18-30 year-old people in Acholi are in vulnerable employment
children do not complete primary school on time
children served as soldiers during the civil war
The Acholi Sub-Region in Northern Uganda is where WPDI has had its longest presence. More than 22 years of civil conflict between the Government of Uganda and the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) – one of the most brutal rebel groups in the world – left a number of scars that have not yet fully healed. Over the course of the conflict, some 1.6 million people were uprooted from their homes and countless children were orphaned and disenfranchised, especially former child-soldiers, many of whom lost their families and homes with no community to which to return. The area is now stable but many of its youths were brought up within or right after this period of armed violence and civil war that was settled only in the mid-2000s.
Since 2012, through the Youth Peacemaker Network, we have reached tens of thousands of young people and other residents of Acholi, notably through two successive cohorts of sixty youth leaders and the services provided at our Community Learning Center in Gulu, where we also maintain our country office. The program has been seminal for WPDI because it has demonstrated powerfully that young people with traumatic experiences shaped by conflict have an immense capacity for resilience and adaptation. They also possess intuitive knowledge that helping others lessens their own vulnerability. The activities they undertake with us, in particular, Community Dialogues, Peace Education in Schools, and the Business Bootcamp, are a path to a better future – for themselves and their communities. The Business Bootcamp initiative has made a huge difference for the community by providing services, jobs, and skills to local vulnerable youths. This socio-economic impact complements the work of the youths to consolidate peace in the region, in particular through conducting Community Dialogues that reach thousands of local people every year.
In addition to the Youth Peacemaker Network, young people from all over the area regularly use our Community Learning Center to connect to the Internet or attend courses in Conflict Resolution Education, Information & Communications Technology, Business & Entrepreneurship, and Arts & Crafts. On average, 91 percent of former WPDI trainees in Entrepreneurship whom we polled in 2019 had experienced a positive career change six month after taking our course, with 52 percent creating their own business and 25 percent increasing their income. Our Community Learning Center is also used to train local leaders about Conflict Resolution Education. This helps boost the dissemination of a culture of peace in the region – an objective we also pursue through the additional courses in Conflict Resolution Education that we provide in primary and secondary schools in Gulu.
On average, 91 percent of former WPDI trainees in Entrepreneurship whom we polled in 2019 had experienced a positive career change six months after taking our course, with 52 percent creating their own business and 25 percent increasing their income.
View our Acholi Sub-region 2020 report
Key numbers to understand our impact in Acholi sub-region:
youth leaders trained and supported
local youth trained by the 30 youth leaders
Community Learning Center located in Gulu
youth-led income-generating community projects
SMEs through the Business Boot Camp
children and youth sensitized to peace values through our Cinema for Peace program
students participating each year in our Conflict Resolution Education program in schools