Over two million people in northern Uganda were displaced by a brutal conflict between the Ugandan government and the rebel group the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA), led by Joseph Kony. The war lasted for more than two decades and its effects are still being felt today. In the Karamoja region in the north-east of the country, the traditional practice of cattle raiding has become increasingly violent, aggravating the effects of poverty.
During the conflict children and young people have suffered heavily from violence, insecurity, and displacement. Many lost their parents, had to leave their homes, lived in fear for years, and were unable to access education. Many of them were recruited to fight as child soldiers, were beaten, raped, or forced to commit atrocities during the two decades of conflict.
These children are now adolescents and young adults looking for ways to support themselves and their families. However, the effects of the conflict are far reaching, leaving almost an entire generation of young people under-educated and under-skilled and many communities without the ability to protect their children. In addition, while the rehabilitation of schools and facilities has started, the quality of education is often poor and violence in schools is widespread resulting in children dropping out or not registering at all.
What we do
As the situation in Uganda has stabilised, War Child has turned its focus on the empowerment of young people and communities across Uganda. While originally working primarily in IDP camps, War Child in Uganda moved with the people displaced by the conflict from their camps back to their home villages.
War Child has extensive experience in the use of creative methods and sports. These tools are used to support children and young people to cope with psychosocial issues. We support young people to improve their self-esteem and determination, and gain business skills and socio-economic opportunities.
We support communities to protect their own children from violence and abuse, and we equip teachers with encouraging, child-friendly teaching skills. Our work is inclusive and participatory; children, young people, and communities are at the centre or our work and play a lead role in our projects.
War Child in Uganda also works with district leaders, teachers, government officials and international and national partner organisations to lobby and advocate for a violence-free Uganda, where children can live and learn with dignity.