JRS Uganda in Adjumani is implementing Peace Building and Reconciliation activities in the Settlements since 2017.
Two of its major components have been the Peace Clubs in schools and the Youth Ambassadors at the community level.
At JRS East Africa we had the chance to interview two of the implementors of the program in Adjumani:
William Kakulu (Head Teacher at one of the schools implementing the Peace Clubs)
Kakulu’s school has a mixed student population, with 250 students from the host community and 185 students from the refugee community.
As a result of the trauma that most young refugees had to go through, there were existing tensions with violent resolution in some cases among refugee and host community students.
In 2017 JRS intervened and settled a peace club to bring co-existence between host and refugee community. JRS was the first to intervene in that school.
Activities carried out by Peace Clubs:
- Meetings, sensitization of their community, Peer to Peer education. The goodness of peace, the members are the ones to advocate about it among the students.
- Also do community policy – educate the community about peace beyond the classroom: they go to communities to meet the leaders and sensitize about peace, they perform dramas, open debates…
- They support vulnerable members within the community, especially the elders, who have no support. Help them rebuild the houses, lay bricks, conduct cleaning campaigns…
After the Peace Club was formed, at the school level there has been a peaceful coexistence between host and refugee students.
- Refugees wanted to have separate dormitories from the host community. But now no longer, they sleep together and spend more time together.
- There used to be students strikes because of internal conflicts, but now it has been long since there was no strike.
- In the community, they have been able to embrace the school. They see the students as people helping the community, and now more people wants to send students to that school for the impact of the clubs.
- Through the clubs and its outreach to the community, JRS has been able to locate the most vulnerable youth, specially girls, and supported them to attend schools.
Elemu Gilbert David (Youth Ambassador at Maaji 2 and 3)
Elemu Gilbert is a 24year old South Sudanese living in Maaji 2 Settlement since 2016, and one of JRS’ Youth Ambassadors since 2017. The Youth Ambassadors are young boys and girls between 15 and 24 years old.
The three major roles of a Youth Ambassador are the following:
- To see peaceful coexistence between host and refugee communities (ensuring child protection, etc)
- To look for solutions to raise issues, and provide support before it raises conflict.
- To ensure that conflict is solved in a non-violent way. Because violence increases conflict again.