Peace Corps engaged in peace building

Left to right: Peace Corps Director of Programming and Training- Paul Sully, Peace Corps Volunteer Sarah Powell, Director AYINET Victor Ochen, and Chic Dambach, the former President of Alliance for Peace Building and United States Peace Corps Association

AYINET and members of Peace Corps Uganda had the incredible experience of meeting with Chic Dambach at AYINET’s National War Victim Conference in May 2014. Chic is a Returned Peace Corps Volunteer and previous director of the Alliance for Peace Building. Mr. Dambach has a vision that Peace Corps Volunteers who reside in foreign countries for a two-year duration should be working at building peace through out their service. Chic was very excited to see the partnership we had formed between

Peace Corps Uganda and AYINET because we have been using the unique skills that a PCV possesses to implement activities that promote peace and constructively mitigate conflict in our communities.

AYINET with their Peace Corps Volunteer is moving forward with this initiative with our first implementation of Peace Camp. This week long camp will be held in partnership with Peace Corps Uganda in December 2014 in Lira Town. Peace Camp’s main goal is to empower Ugandan youth to become peace-builders in every sense of the word. We want to equip them with skills to be leaders who are able to identify and mitigate conflict in a way that allows them to promote peace in their own lives, within their community, and possibly for their country.

AYINET has had the opportunity of partnering with the United States Peace Corps in hosting an American Peace Corps Volunteer who goes by the name of Sarah, for a two-year duration. Over the past one-year we have seen a number of exciting opportunities and projects come to light and we are eagerly planning for much much more!

We have involved our PCV heavily in AYINET’s SAFE (Supporting Access to Justice, Fostering Equity and Peace) project. She has introduced us to new learning materials and facilitation techniques that have been utilized at our youth leadership trainings and symposiums held in Lira and Gulu Districts. We are currently planning activities and sessions for our upcoming Youth Symposium to be held in Lira on October 23rd.

Along with AYINET staff, the PCV visits the local prison for a weekly youth drama group practice and performance. On certain occasions the AYINET staff even compete against members of the drama group in a lively volleyball match, where they have yet to win a match!

Our PCV also works with a Peace and Justice Club at a nearby girls’ secondary school. She teaches them different subjects on conflict resolution, problem solving and promoting peace within their community. With Sarah’s guidance, the club is also organizing to make a volunteer trip to a local baby orphanage as well as learn to make RUMPs (reusable menstrual pads) for their own use and to teach others.

Sarah works with a fellow Peace Corps Volunteer who resides in Lira to teach lessons on public health topics at a local health centre III. Each week they meet with the patients waiting to be seen for immunizations or a health concern and teach them about issues such as nutrition, HIV/AIDS, malaria and hygiene and sanitation.

Most exciting of all, our Peace Corps Volunteer is working with us to plan our first ever Peace Camp in partnership with Peace Corps Uganda. The week long camp will take place at a local school on the outskirts of Lira Town during the month of December 2014. We will be inviting 60 adolescent males and females from across Uganda to participate in a week of activities and lessons that teach skills on conflict resolution, peace building and leadership.  The entire staff of AYINET will be involved in planning and hosting the camp and will take on roles as facilitators, staff and counselors during the week of camp.

According to Sarah, the best part of being a Peace Corps Volunteer with AYINET has been the friendships that have formed with her co workers. They are open to new ideas, cooperative and never stop helping her to learn and understand how to live in a culture unlike her own.