NORTHERN UGANDA HAS SUFFERED MUCH DURING NRM'S TIME SOME CHANGE IN LEADERSHIP MAY GIVE THEM HOPE
When one looks at Northern Uganda's share of European Investment Bank Loans, it is indeed a sad story. The Northern region has as of now lost a minimal of two decades. The north can benefit best if there can be a leader to give them that hope. While people in northern Uganda have languished in poverty, disease, insecurity, name it, a handful of well connected people have billions of money not in banks but in their households. No wonder many lands in Buganda have been bought to benefit a few and it is not clear where the money to buy these comes from.
The wise decision is to see NRM leadership off come the 2011 General Elections.
Some few people sleep with millions of shillings in their households!
World Bank reviews its funding in northern Uganda
An ambitious World Bank project to promote reconciliation and development in northern Uganda is on track despite the slow rollout of some initiatives. According to the Bank's own assessment, while the results of the project are now promising, initial implementation of the five-year, $100 million project was not easy. The Bank notes in its latest report that limited successes have been recorded since the launch of the Northern Uganda Social Action Fund in 2003. It however says that a key achievement of the bank funding has been the creation of more than 2,500 sub-projects intended to help reintegrate gun dropouts, ex-combatants and displaced persons, into their communities. The report says that about 110,000 Ugandans directly affected by the long-running strife in the region have benefited from these efforts. It also says that local development schemes financed by the bank have also brought about tangible improvements in living conditions for many residents. Under the scheme, nearly 7,000 pupils are said to have benefited from unspecified school programs conducted under the bank's auspices. The Social Action Fund has also paid for 37 health facilities that have the potential to directly serve approximately 195,000 people.
USAID/OTI UGANDA QUARTERLY REPORT
January - March 2010
USAID's Office of Transition Initiatives (OTI) launched the Northern Uganda Transition Initiative in June 2008. The program supports the voluntary return of internally displaced Ugandans to their homes by increasing their confidence in the ability of the Government of Uganda (GOU) to deliver strategic services and strive for their welfare. The OTI program is based in the Acholi sub-region of northern Uganda, which was the region hardest hit by the 23-year conflict with the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA). Activities run in the districts of Gulu, Amuru, Kitgum, and Pader and a few outlying areas.
To assist these efforts, OTI focuses on three objectives: (1) increasing access to information on peace, recovery, and development programs through media and strategic communications; (2) increasing the visibility of, and confidence in, the GOU through the delivery of strategic interventions; and (3) supporting truth and reconciliation initiatives. Activities include the following:
Media and Strategic Communications – OTI works directly with radio stations to help disseminate correct and timely information to returnees in northern Uganda on issues such as public services and land rights. OTI also supports creative and strategic communications that convey messages of peace, recovery, and development. Through new program activities, OTI will begin to distribute information on the upcoming 2011 national and local elections, such as how voters can register, and carry out a media campaign focusing on the north-south divide and how to bridge this regional gap.
Government Infrastructure Renovations – In northern Uganda, OTI has worked through local government technical offices to renovate schools, health clinics, and sub-county government offices in the Acholi sub-region. Projects not only raise the visibility of the government but also increase citizens' awareness of, and confidence in, their local officials. Most of these reconstruction projects are winding down as larger donors take over activities in this arena.
Support for Reconciliation – OTI has nearly concluded its activities supporting traditional and cultural reconciliation processes. These activities have helped communities recover from past atrocities and allowed displaced Ugandans to return home. New activities to replace this important aspect of support will focus on youth, local government capacity building, and conflict prevention in the run-up to the elections that are planned for early 2011, as the balloting has the potential to spark violence.
Situations to do with northern Uganda
Parliament Passes War Crimes Bill – In March, the Ugandan Parliament passed the War Crimes Bill, domesticating the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (ICC) under a special division of the High Court. The bill sets the age of criminal responsibility at 12 years, which parallels Ugandan law; does not provide for presidential amnesty; gives the court jurisdiction over crimes committed since 2003; and bars the death penalty. The court will be created by legal notice once President Museveni signs the bill into law.
Continued LRA Activity – Human Rights Watch reported that the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) killed 316 civilians and abducted 250 over a four-day period during December 2009 in the northeastern part of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The scale and brutality of this massacre has revived the debate on the ability of the LRA to continue to wage war in the region and has reminded many in the Acholi tribal area of northern Uganda that the LRA is still very much alive.
Camp Closures – In February, 14 camps for internally displaced persons (IDP) in Amuru District were closed, including the Pabbo IDP camp, which was once the largest camp in the Acholi region. The closures bring the number of phased-out camps to 52. At the height of the insurgency, there were 121 IDP camps housing approximately 1.5 million people in the Acholi region.
Donor Funds for Reconstruction Arrive – The abundance of donor funds available for reconstruction in northern Uganda was apparent during the quarter. Partners providing significant amounts of funding include the Japanese International Cooperation Agency, which will focus on roads, and the U.K. Department for International Development, which will build school housing and health centers. The World Bank's Northern Uganda Social Action Fund (NUSAF II) and the Ugandan Government's Peace, Recovery, and Development Plan (PRDP) will focus on district development plans, as will USAID's Northern Uganda Development of Enhanced Local Governance, Infrastructure and Livelihoods program (NUDEIL), which will also focus on roads and labor intensive projects.
June 2010 - USAID/OTI will host its second Program Performance Review (PPR) at the end of the month. The PPR will look at the successes and challenges the OTI program has seen to date and assess and report on overall program effectiveness.
Summer 2010 - USAID/OTI will unveil a five-day "Photographs of the Recovery" exhibit to increase awareness and visibility of northern Uganda's recovery in the South.
To date, OTI, through its implementing partner Casals & Associates, has cleared 190 activities worth $11,601,176. During the January–March quarter, the program cleared 42 grants totaling $3,555,644. OTI has worked directly with more than 130,000 people and facilitated more than 1,100 engagements between government offices and communities. Grant funding is broken down by sector in the table below.
Community Justice Centers – OTI has moved forward with efforts to establish Community Justice Centers with 1207 funding from the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD). The initiative involves rehabilitating offices and equipping police, prosecutors, and courthouses in four districts of LRA-affected northern Uganda. Seven grants worth $850,000 have been signed and grant implementation has begun. The program expects to have the entire $3.6 million in 1207 funding obligated by the end of the 3rd quarter of FY10.
Inauguration of the Kitgum Matidi Health Center Maternity Ward – OTI supported the rehabilitation of the maternity ward at the Kitgum Matidi Health Center.
Kitgum Population Officer James Okello inspects the new maternity ward.
The center was prioritized by sub-county and district officials, as well as by the surrounding community, because of its central location in the district and due to the large number of citizens that seek health services at the site. OTI's intervention coincided with U.S. efforts to establish a new laboratory at the center—under the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) program—to facilitate the treatment of malaria, AIDS, and tuberculosis. Responding to positive community feedback, the district is making plans for additional improvements at the center to enhance its capacity to serve not only the sub-county but also the entire district. The improvements will also expand the center's ability to serve as a referral center for complicated cases. The grant for the center was one of six grants implemented in Kitgum Matidi. The grants also provided funds for boreholes, schools, and teacher housing as part of OTI's sub-county strategy, which prioritizes small administrative divisions in northern Uganda for a targeted approach.
Support to Election Process – In close collaboration with District NGO Forums and the Electoral Commission, OTI has launched grants in the four districts where it operates to support voter education and encourage registration, focusing on the unique needs of voters in northern Uganda. Grantees have broadcast radio spots and messages on election procedures and produced shows where the District Registrar took calls from listeners with questions about the election calendar and registration process.
Survey Work – OTI enlisted the University of California at Berkeley to follow up on its seminal work "When the War Ends," a survey on truth and justice issues in northern Uganda that was completed by the school and other partners in 2007. The new survey, entitled "Now that the War Is Over," will assess attitudinal changes in the northern Ugandan population since the advent of the peace and return process. The survey will serve as an evaluation tool for OTI programs. For the project, the school is employing an innovative methodology that uses Android technology and personal digital assistants for rapid capture and real-time mapping of information. The final report is expected by the end of May or the beginning of June, in time for the ICC Review Conference in Kampala.
Video Success Stories – OTI began rolling out its video success story project during the quarter. The program is using this innovative story-telling method to showcase its successes in northern Uganda, and the videos are providing a more comprehensive overview of program activities than short text stories can. The first video success stories highlighted the Breakdance for Peace and Positive Social Change Campaign and a project to rebuild and modernize the Agoro Sub-County market.
The OTI northern Uganda program has been a successful initiative to date. In its two years of operations, the program has worked directly with 150,000 people, rehabilitated over 450 buildings and other infrastructure, facilitated 1,500 government-community engagements, and supported 3,922 radio spots to assist the peace, recovery, and development processes in the region. In addition, OTI has provided targeted training to GOU officials, which has proven to be crucial in improving their abilities to assume responsibility not only for PRDP funding but also for reconstruction funds coming on line from various donors.
OTI's objective of empowering the GOU is on track and continues to be the correct strategy and a foreign policy priority of the U.S. Government. The U.S. Embassy and the director of the USAID Uganda Mission have endorsed this strategy and stressed the need for all USAID programs to work more closely with the GOU.
Uganda's transition to peace, recovery, and development is progressing well. More than 85 percent of the Ugandans displaced by conflict have returned to their villages, and camp housing continues to be demolished. Progress and stability is increasing confidence in the GOU, and OTI programming has once again filled a critical strategic gap while other donors were gearing-up their larger reconstruction efforts. Even though elements of the LRA are still at large, northern Ugandans are finding peace in their communities and have begun to rebuild their homes and businesses.
OTI priorities for the next quarter include the following:
• Increase the rate of project implementation while maintaining quality of activities and output;
• Finish programming DoD 1207 funding and award all contracts for reconstruction efforts;
• Complete public perceptions survey in partnership with the University of California at Berkeley;
• Evaluate media and development assistance grants to inform future activities for new focus areas;
• Monitor the GOU's progress with PRDP implementation in the coming months; and
• Identify partners to engage and relevant activities to undertake during the program's final operational year to help cement a lasting and enduring peace for the people of northern Uganda.
For further information, please contact:
Nicole Weir, Africa Program Manager, 202-712-0904, firstname.lastname@example.org.