Changing Capacity to Better Serve the People of Uganda
Last month we announced the Peace and Reconciliation Project and gave you some background on our partners at Peace & Reconciliation Ministries in Africa. Now we want to cast our vision for the future of this great work. For the past five years PRMA focused on saturating the area around their Peace Center in Lira, Uganda, training 250 local traditional leaders, 400 pastors, 600 political and civic leaders and 240 military officers in biblical conflict resolution.
While we will continue to train new leaders as they are elected or appointed, the ministry focus in Lira needs to shift. Land disputes are the most prevalent cause of serious conflict in northern Uganda and mediators trained in Biblical conflict resolution often require specialized technical assistance to create property lines and register discrete properties with the government.
To meet this need, PRMA must develop two new capacities. First we need modern GPS surveying equipment and training for their people to use it. Based on these surveys PRMA can print out beautifully detailed maps so that people can actually see their property. Dickson Ogwang, the founder of PRMA, emphasized the important and immediate effect such surveys would have.
The surveys and the maps they create would better equip local leaders to create effective solutions. The beauty of the reconciliation process is that those involved do need to wait for the government to approve their solution, they can implement it on their own based on the personal integrity of those involved. In addition to resolving current disputes, a better understanding of what someone does and does not own will help prevent future disputes from arising.
This is not to say that formal government recognition is not important. PRMA’s other capacity shift involves developing trained legal staff to assist in the acquisition of a formal title. As we discussed in the last email Uganda’s formal real estate system was thrown into chaos by years of dictatorship and war, creating an enormous backlog for properties to be registered and titled.
Upon returning from a trip to Uganda, Sam Casey described thousands of applications for land titles sitting on tables in local courthouses, waiting for adjudication in horrendously understaffed and unequipped courts. Fortunately, the Ugandan Constitution recognizes agreements created by mediation, such as the reconciliation practices. When conflict arises PRMA’s primary responsibility will still involve offering expert reconciliation services at the Peace Center to create workable agreements, which will be honored by both sides. However, by adding the capacity of trained legal staff to facilitate the processing of these agreements, PRMA can not only aid the people of Uganda in gaining formal title to their land, it can also help remove backlog from the courts.
In order to accomplish this we need your help. In addition to money for the GPS and survey training, PRMA needs to send two of its staff to the Law Development Center at Uganda Christian University. This nine month program will cost approximately $2000 per staff member. We also need $21,000 to finish and fully furnish our offices in Lira. God has provided easy access to electricity with a transformer now standing at the compound of the Peace Center and the premise fully wired. Once the office is finished this surveying/titling ministry will have computers and internet access. In short, everything we need to run a modern, efficient office.
Jubilee Campaign is very excited about this new project. Our friends at PRMA work to create peace in practical real-world ways. Once again, thank you for all your help and support. Look forward to future updates where we will describe PRMA’s efforts in Gulu, Uganda working on saturating that area with peace and reconciliation.