KAMPALA, UGANDA, November 12, 2013 – AIPR Director for Africa, Ashad Sentongo, facilitated a civil society workshop last month to inform development of a training manual for International Conference on the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR) leaders. Once completed, the manual will build capacity of ICGLR officials to formulate policies and implement effective programs for genocide and mass atrocity prevention. Twenty civil society representatives from Uganda’s Kampala, Jinja, and Mbale districts attended the one-day workshop.
AIPR support for the creation of the training manual was outlined in the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between AIPR and the African Union signed in February 2013. The MoU emphasizes exploration of synergistic approaches to capacity building towards strengthening initiatives within the AUC and AU member states in areas of genocide and mass atrocity prevention. Towards this goal, AIPR is conducting a series of consultations beginning with states of Africa’s Great Lakes Region as part of a baseline assessment to identity training needs of state leaders to inform development of the manual.
Ugandan civil society representatives from organizations working in areas of violence prevention, human rights, good governance, post-conflict reconstruction and peace building participated in the October 24, 2013 consultation. One civil society representative reflected on the legacy of political upheaval in Uganda. “All eight political regimes since independence in 1962 were changed by civil war or military coup d’etats,” said the participant, “and this does not promise a good future.”
The views and opinions of participants pointed to an array of topics for inclusion in the ICGLR training manual. In particular, there was a desire for content on:
- Practical collaborative approaches between the state, civil society and communities to avoid implementing independent programs that can create new challenges if/when they conflict;
- Practical application of early warning and genocide prevention frameworks to facilitate inquiry and decision-making on local actions in conflict situations; and,
- Conflict-handling models for multi-stakeholder engagement across political, economic and social spheres, including how to integrate traditional conflict resolution practices in genocide and mass atrocity prevention programs.
While discussing existing programs in the country, one attendee noted that, “these are not tailored to address prevention or build capacity for preventive practices like early warning and action, but are concerned with post conflict reconstruction, demobilization and reintegration, especially in Northern Uganda.” The ICGLR training manual seeks to address these gaps.