Preventing and Countering Violent Extremism and Terrorism in Uganda
The “Bridges to Peace” initiative contributes to the Kofi Annan Foundation’s latest effort to build peace and trust amongst communities most affected by violence. In Uganda, we have been working closely with our partners at the Uganda Muslim Youth Development Forum to enhance community preparedness and resilience to violent extremism in key affected places. Overall, our ambition is to contribute to the long-term reduction of violence and insecurity in Uganda.
This initiative is supported by the European Union and contributes to its efforts to stop the spread of violence across the region.
“Bridges to Peace” was designed in response to the recent surge in violence and extremist activity in Uganda. After an extended lull in terror attacks, the country was the target of back-to-back bombings by the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) between August and November 2021. Recent reports have also confirmed the presence of sleeper cells.
This recent uptick in violent activity has earned Uganda the title of ‘country with the largest deterioration’ in peace and stability by the Global Terrorism Index 2021.
Several factors make the country vulnerable to violence, including the lack of meaningful socio-economic opportunities among at-risk communities contributing to both voluntary and involuntary recruitment into armed groups; minority groups’ perceptions of social, economic, and political marginalization; human rights abuses perpetrated in the context of the government’s counter-terrorism response; and lack of civil society’s capacity to prevent violence
This calls for an intensification of efforts to strengthen local capacities for peace in the areas most affected by violence.
Working alongside at-risk women and youth, civil society organizations, local government entities, community influencers and media professionals, we will:
- Raise awareness and increase communities’ preparedness to violent extremism in districts and cities particularly affected by it.
- Build the capacity of community members and at-risk individuals to positively engage with other groups and worldviews and to promote social cohesion.
- Help civil society organizations design and implement their own effective P/CVE interventions.
- Contribute to the peaceful reintegration of former combatants.
Different approaches are used to work towards these goals. These include training workshops, community stories exhibitions, participatory radio drama programmes, knowledge exchange opportunities, community dialogues, and inter-faith exhibits.
This initiative is designed to complement the government’s efforts. In just 18-months, we aim to contribute to advancing 6 of the 13 pillars that make up Uganda’s recently approved National P/CVE Strategy and Action plan.
Uganda Muslim Youth Development Forum (UMYDF)
The UMYDF is a non-for-profit, Peacebuilding and Development organization. It was founded in 2011 by Ndugwa Hassan and Ahmed Hadji after surviving the 2010 terrorist attack on the Kyadondo rugby grounds in Kampala, Uganda.
The UMYDF works directly with both grassroots and larger scale peacebuilding actors to address the root causes and effects of violent conflicts. Their work focuses mainly on breaking cycles of conflict, promoting healing, mending broken community relationships, fostering justice, and strengthening community defences against violence
Kofi Annan Foundation
The Kofi Annan Foundation is an independent not-for-profit organization, established in Switzerland in 2007 by the late former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan. The mission of the foundation is to help build peaceful, democratic, and resilient societies. It works to create a fairer and more peaceful world, where no one is left behind, democratic principles and the rule of law are upheld, and divides are bridged through dialogue and international cooperation.
The Bridges to Peace project is led by the Foundation’s Peace and Trust programme which works on issues linked to peace, resilience-building and truth-seeking.