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Community Leaders in Northern Uganda Receive Training in Conflict Resolution from WPDI Youth Peacemakers​

Last week in northern Uganda, youth peacemakers from the Whitaker Peace & Development Initiative (WPDI) trained 42 influential community leaders, 13 of them women, in conflict resolution. The training took form in a three-day workshop, which aimed to provide the leaders with skills and knowledge that they can use to build cultures of peace and development in their respective communities. 

WPDI knows, from years of experience working in fragile and conflict-afflicted communities around the world, that lasting peace cannot be built without the commitment of local stakeholders. This is the driving notion behind our work in northern Uganda, an area that has experienced decades of civil conflict and is still struggling to recover. WPDI’s activities there are centered upon our flagship program, the Youth Peacemaker Network (YPN), through which we empower young people to become agents of peace and positive transformation. In so doing, we train them intensively for over a year in a wide range of topics, including conflict resolution, mediation, and entrepreneurship so that they can return to their communities and work to build peace within them.

The workshop for community leaders therefore rests firmly within the mandate of our youth peacemakers and the reaction it received from its attendees is evident of their impact. The Chairperson of the Gulu Municipal Council, who opened the workshop, emphasized that “no partner has ever held such a leadership training in the twenty years” he has held that office. He also commended WPDI’s grassroots approach, noting how training local elected officials would have an amplified impact since they are “charged with the responsibility of maintaining law, order, and security at the village and parish levels.” Local leaders concurred. As Atto Rose, a local town councilor, told us, “the Conflict Resolution Education (CRE) training has been an eye opener in my life. After the training, I have a better understanding of how to deal with conflict, create peace, and how to be a mediator. It has been a great training and I will use these skills to become a better leader in my community.”

In the future, WPDI looks forward to conducting additional trainings for communities across northern Uganda, in collaboration with our partner, the Education Above All Foundation. Together, we will continue to foster peace and development in communities that are most in need of it.