Civil Peace Service: Promotion of peace building measures
Title: Civil Peace Service (CPS)
Commissioned by: German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)
Lead executing agency: Governmental and civil society partner organisations
Overall term: 2004 to 2015
For decades, violent conflict raged throughout Teso and Karamoja in north-eastern Uganda and in the West Nile region in the north-western part of the country.
Teso and Karamoja are among the country’s most underdeveloped areas. Above all, livestock rustling prevents the different ethnic groups – most notably the Iteso and the Karamojong – from coexisting peacefully. This is compounded by border disputes and conflicts over land.
The population of the West Nile region suffered for many years due to disputes between the different rebel groups, who have since given up their armed struggles. Initial steps have already been taken towards reconciliation. This is helping to steer society back toward reconstruction and sustainable development in the region.
Governmental and civil society partner organisations help to dismantle prejudices between groups. They build capacities to engage in dialogue and work towards the non-violent resolution of conflict. The organisations also complement numerous activities underway in the regions to promote food security, and they form an important component of sustainable development.
In the Karamoja-Teso border region, partner organisations of the Civil Peace Service (CPS) initiate and support dialogue processes, thus encouraging peaceful coexistence between ethnic groups. They provide training on alternatives to violence, conflict-sensitive planning and non-violent communication.
Partner organisations in the West Nile region promote the consolidation of peace by pursuing strategies to deal with contentious issues – for instance using restorative justice as an alternative approach to conflict transformation – and by taking measures to control the proliferation of small arms. To help resolve conflicts, the organisations create the scope for dialogue involving the different population groups and political institutions. They also teach non-violent methods of conflict transformation to children and young people through newly formed peace clubs in the regions’ secondary schools.
Members of the Iteso and Bokora ethnic groups, which were formerly enemies, now live together peacefully in collective settlements in the Karamoja-Teso border region. This peaceful coexistence is largely due to the work of the CPS and its partner organisations. The number of people living in the project region rose from just 57 in 2007 to around 30,000 in 2011. Livestock rustling has been reduced. Thanks to local politicians and traditional leaders who have received appropriate training, more stolen animals are now traced and returned to their owners, and conflicts are resolved peacefully.
In Teso and Karamoja, a meeting was organised for a number of different parties affected by land conflicts. For some of these stakeholders it was the first time they had met. They agreed on what were the most pressing issues related to land, and they planned collective interventions to address those issues.
In the West Nile area, the partner organisations have supported the development of regional networks and cross-border initiatives with the Democratic Republic of Congo and with South Sudan. In doing so, they have helped to reduce the proliferation of small arms.
New dialogue structures, reparation strategies and peace education approaches have all served to reinforce the culture of peace and reconciliation.