Description of the programme in Uganda

The general goal of the Uganda programme is to improve the psychosocial wellbeing of children and youth affected by the conflict in Northern Uganda. To achieve this goal, War Child strives to strengthen their spirits and offer those in the camps and villages an environment in which they can receive support and live together peacefully.

In order to learn the skills to make them more resilient, children participate in a series of creative workshops called I DEAL. Participants are children who go to school but have behavioural problems as a result of their living conditions (including former child soldiers, orphans, and abused and neglected children). These workshops help children cope with their emotions, with other people and with conflict. Mutual respect, understanding and friendship are encouraged. War Child also launched BIG DEAL, a project for youth who no longer attend school, and SHE DEALS, a programme for young mothers. These children's parents form groups to talk about their experiences and problems and to learn how to support their children in a more positive way.

Ugandese childrenOther activities
Other activities and events are organised to promote relaxation and to become reacquainted with their own culture. In addition, awareness is raised by means of group discussions, plays and radio broadcasts. The issues raised include child protection, child abuse, the dangers of marrying young, the reintegration of former child soldiers and the need to prevent minors from being recruited by armed forces. The quality of education is improved by instructing teachers to employ participatory tools, use creative means and to make school a safer place. Accelerated education is offered to those who left school prematurely (due to abduction or pregnancy).

The following programmes and projects were carried out in Northern Uganda in 2007 at the community and district levels, in refugee camps, satellite camps and parishes:

  1. Psychosocial support for children and youth in Gulu, Amuru, Lira and Kitgum;
  2. Catch-up education in Gulu, in association with partner organisation Echo Bravo;
  3. Community-based child protection for orphans and other vulnerable children in Kitgum and Pader in association with partner organisation UNICEF;
  4. Prevention against and response to the recruitment of children into the armed forces in Kitgum;
  5. Creative methods to improve access and retention in schools in Lira. This new programme started in 2007 and is financed by UNICEF;
  6. Develop child-friendly areas and recreational facilities for schools in Gulu (UNICEF)
  7. ICT in Education for Peace in Lira and Kitgum.

Target groups
Children and youth (aged 4 to 21), youth groups, care givers, paraprofessionals, community-based organisations (CBOs) and other NGOs. Children and youth who participated belonged to one or more of the following categories:

  • They were in the LRA; abducted children and children born in captivity;
  • They were 'night commuters' (project ended in the first quarter of 2007). Night commuters are children who walk to another village or town at night to avoid being abducted from their homes; 
  • They were internally displaced; 
  • They had to take care of other children as head of the household; 
  • They were physically handicapped; 
  • They were unable to go to school.

Current phase of the programme
War Child ended its psychosocial programme at the end of 2007. The programme was evaluated (see Evaluation), and a new three-year programme (2008 - 2010) was set up and approved. [Trefwoorden]

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Programme Development Advisor Ernst Suur in Uganda

War Child’s Ernst Suur sees communities in Northern Uganda slowly recovering: “If everybody helps, something beautiful will grow.”

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