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Born in the Borderlands, Living for Unity: The Story of a Peacebuilder in Northern Uganda

Born in the Borderlands, Living for Unity: The Story of a Peacebuilder in Northern Uganda

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As peacebuilding project officer for Catholic Relief Services (CRS) in Gulu, Sister Pauline Acayo has been instrumental in helping over 2,000 formerly abducted children reintegrate into their communities through the use of mediation, psychosocial trauma counseling and traditional indigenous ceremonies. Through Acayo’s support of women peace committees in internally displaced peoples’ (IDP) camps and encouragement to participate in peace and reconciliation activities, women are gaining influential roles in northern Ugandan society. She trains women task forces and creates community forums for women to voice their views. These task forces also work in coordination with Acayo and CRS to promote reconciliation and forgiveness in communities torn apart by 20 years of war.
As peacebuilding project officer for Catholic Relief Services (CRS) in Gulu, Sister Pauline Acayo has been instrumental in helping over 2,000 formerly abducted children reintegrate into their communities through the use of mediation, psychosocial trauma counseling and traditional indigenous ceremonies. Through Acayo’s support of women peace committees in internally displaced peoples’ (IDP) camps and encouragement to participate in peace and reconciliation activities, women are gaining influential roles in northern Ugandan society. She trains women task forces and creates community forums for women to voice their views. These task forces also work in coordination with Acayo and CRS to promote reconciliation and forgiveness in communities torn apart by 20 years of war.

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Categories:Types, Research
Published by: Joan B. Kroc Institute for Peace & Justice on Jul 28, 2011
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

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01/02/2013

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Sister Pauline also takes an active lead in the District Resettlement Peace Team (DRPT),

a sub-committee of the District Disaster Management Committee (DDMC) in Gulu. The DDMC

is composed of several sub-committees which deal with matters related to disaster and conflict,

including emergency readiness, water and sanitation issues, HIV/AIDS, and agriculture. Sister

Pauline’s sub-committee is concerned with resettlement, specifically as it affects the civilian

population in the IDP camps. Their concerns are similar to the work of the PWG, but the DRPT

is concerned with the logistics of moving large sectors of the population from their homes to

camps, or from one camp to another. If there is a disaster that forces an evacuation of a camp—

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for example, a fire breaks out or the security situation deteriorates—the DRPT prepares, with the

full input of the population to be relocated, an assessment of the situation. The team provides the

necessary logistics for the relocation, including mode of transport, security considerations, and

supplies required for the move and resettlement. For the resettlement, the DRPT liaises with the

UPDF and local police to provide security. They must also coordinate with NGOs to provide

items to families as they move and begin to rebuild their lives.

Sister Pauline has helped to organize exchange visits with the Gulu team’s counterparts

in neighboring districts, including Soroti and Lira. It is imperative for districts to work together

as the war continues, especially on matters related to emergencies and disasters. “These visits are

good to discuss and get ideas—and to cement the relationship.”

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