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Justine Peace Odor: a WPDI Agent for Peace in Uganda

Justine Peace Odor, a WPDI Trainer of Trainees (ToT), was just 13-years-old when he was abducted by the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA). Almost immediately, he was trained to become the escort of the renown LRA commander Acellam Caesar.

In 1999, Justine managed to escape and find his way back home. There, he began to pursue his dream - “to become an international human rights defender.” He began his journey by joining WPDI’s flagship program, the Youth Peacemaker Network (YPN), which aims to empower young women and men from vulnerable areas, like Justine, so that they can return to their communities and promote peace and sustainable development through WPDI-sponsored activities or their own initiatives.

Before officially joining the Youth Peacemaker Network as ToTs, the selected youths receive a year of intensive training from expert WPDI staff on a variety of subjects related to peacebuilding, including conflict resolution education (CRE), leadership, information and communications technology (ICT), and business development skills. 

Justine excelled in WPDI’s training program in the Acholi sub-region. He graduated in December 2017 and has since put what he learned to good use.  He has personally successfully trained 38 sub-county youths on issues including peacebuilding, conflict management, and entrepreneurship, while remaining heavily involved as a key trainer in WPDI’s training sessions for additional youths in the area.

He also is having an impact within his community back home. There, Justine recently mobilized 350 community members to participate in community dialogues to mediate a series of conflicts between four local clans, the Pabogo and Patyiene in the Padibe Town Council and the Katum and Looli in the Lokung district, where tensions were rising and fighting on the verge of breaking out over a long-standing land demarcation dispute. His efforts proved to be successful and the clans decided to denounce violence and come to an agreement, with Justine’s guidance.

The entire WPDI team is proud of Justine, a one-time 13-year-old child soldier who has truly transformed himself into an agent for peace. We applaud his efforts, along with those of all of our ToTs, and look forward to continuing to watch him achieve his dreams and great things for his community. We also thank our partners, including the Education Above All Foundation, the Swedish Postcode Foundation, Ericsson, and the MTN Foundation. None of our work in the Acholi sub-region would be possible without their strong support.