“WPDI is one of the strongest and most visible peacebuilding partners at the Kiryandongo Refugee Settlement. The level of commitment to championing peace and peaceful coexistence in schools and respective communities is commendable.” Emmanuel Turyangyenda, Office of the Prime Minister (OPM)
January 18, 2024 – Since 2016, WPDI and its teams have been working at fostering community cohesion at the Kiryandongo Refugee Settlement in Uganda through several peacebuilding, Conflict Resolution Education and Community Dialogue programs. In the face of the challenges confronting refugees, WPDI plays a crucial role in fostering resilience and unity with multifaceted interventions on peace complemented by the provision of trauma-related services.
Through targeted courses, sports activities, and community dialogues, we empower individuals to overcome trauma, bridge ethnic divides, and promote mutual respect and tolerance. Residents actively engage in these activities, gaining valuable skills that enable them to address grievances peacefully, thereby fostering trust and mutual understanding within the community. This integrated approach not only aids in overcoming individual challenges but also contributes to the larger goal of building a cohesive and united community in Kiryandongo.
These initiatives go beyond merely enhancing social harmony; they actively contribute to sustainable development by cultivating an environment conducive to educational and economic opportunities. WPDI’s steadfast commitment to holistic peacebuilding cultivates resilience, cooperation, and a shared sense of purpose. In doing so, we lay the foundation for a more resilient and integrated community in Kiryandongo, poised for enduring growth and prosperity.
In the fall of 2023, we conducted a specialized Conflict Resolution Education (CRE) training program for 80 teachers at the settlement. The goal was to enhance the teachers’ abilities in transformative peacebuilding processes. This training aimed to equip them with practical skills for resolving conflicts constructively and promoting peace both within schools and their broader communities. Through this program, teachers gained valuable insights and techniques, empowering them to effectively address conflicts and actively contribute to a culture of peace in their educational institutions and the surrounding areas.
We firmly believe that planting seeds of peace in schools will lead to real long term, sustainable results for the local community.
Participants in our Peacebuilding programs were highly positive about the potential impact of their newly gained skills on their communities. “l have learned new skills in peacebuilding, and servant leadership. l will integrate these skills and knowledge into my routine lesson plan to champion inclusive transformative leadership and constructive approaches in conflict management. Thank you, WPDI,” said Etyang Joselyne Atwani, head teacher at Bidong Primary School.
Our activities at the settlement during this period also included a series of Community Dialogue meetings, which touched over 1,600 people, including community leaders and members of the refugee and host communities in the Kiryandongo settlement. A total of 14 meetings were conducted between September and October 2023.
The Dialogues aim to establish a secure platform for peaceful discussions on pressing community issues, addressing potential or existing conflicts. Topics covered include land rights, violence prevention among refugees, peacebuilding within refugee communities, child rights advocacy, implementation of conflict early warning systems, and dispute resolution strategies.
Proposed resolutions involved WPDI’s ongoing engagement with community leaders to drive behavioral change in both refugee and host communities. Different strategies were considered to this effect, including increasing awareness through educational sessions, conducting weekly radio talk shows featuring refugee leaders to provide accurate information on conflict management, and promoting women’s involvement as leaders in social inclusion and decision-making processes.
These sessions have demonstrated a significant impact on reducing conflict incidents in both refugee and host communities, vindicating WPDI’s commitment to enhancing the capacity of community leaders in peacebuilding and mediation.
Participants have highlighted how they feel more equipped to deal with local conflicts in a peaceful, honest and open way thanks to WPDI’s program. “The WPDI Community Dialogue meeting is proactive, creative, and very informative. It has contributed to the well-being of the most vulnerable women in the refugee community and amplified their voices for social inclusion and recognition as an integral part in the peacebuilding processes,” explains Milly Nancy Lagu, Refugee Welfare Committee Chairperson at the settlement.
In conclusion, WPDI’s commitment to peacebuilding and community engagement has been recognized as transformative by the communities residing in or around the Kiryandongo Refugee Settlement. Through dialogue and Conflict Resolution, WPDI not only fosters unity but also empowers individuals to proactively seek communal solutions to local issues and face challenges together, nurturing a culture of peace and nonviolence for the present and future generations.
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