Peace under the equatorial sun

This year, International Alert celebrated the International Day of Peace with events spread across two weeks in Uganda.

Working under the global Talking Peace Festival theme of ‘Peace in Our Cities’, on 15 September a group of 10 pupils converged at the Uganda National Museum grounds to deliver their understanding of peace. The children were drawn from five local primary schools in some of the most deprived suburbs of Kampala. Above, a professional artist provides the children with advice and guidance.

It was fascinating to see some of the profound ways the young people envisage peace from helping children and the elderly to cross a busy road to informing the police of crimes to protecting the countryside and life in the wilderness. “You can’t say that you have lasting peace in our cities if the surrounding countryside is not peaceful,” said a young artist from Kawempe Church of Uganda Primary School, who was one of the winning duo whose artwork is pictured above.

On 16 September pupils from Kasubi Family Primary School put on a performance depicting and critiquing the electoral process in Uganda, when the police often use excessive force against those who oppose the ruling party. They concluded on a positive note, stressing the need for peaceful coexistence despite our political, religious or ethnic affiliations or backgrounds. Above, the pupils gesture peace at the end of their performance.

Professional artists then weighed in on the celebrations, producing five magnificent pieces reflecting the topics of relations within and between communities, crime, violence and instability, gender, citizenship and the state, and the political economy.

On peace day on 21 September, International Alert participated in the 2015 national peace day celebrations in Mbarara under the theme of ‘Partnerships for Peace: Dignity for All’. Above, International Alert staff welcome (left to right) Minister Tarsis Kabwegyere, the UNDP’s Resident Representative and the British High Commissioner to Uganda and other dignitaries to our ‘peace tent’.

Following tradition, above, 100 captured illegal AK-47s were set ablaze by the Minister for General Duties in the Office of the Prime Minister, Hon. Prof. Tarsis Kabwegyere.

Then on 25 September, Alert organised a workshop on ‘technology for peace’, to share experiences of using technology to mitigate conflict and build peace. Participants included representatives from civil society, development partners, security personnel and the media, including USAID-SAFE, UNICEF and Transparency International. Above, Paddy Kinyera of International Alert explains the progress made in using technology to monitor peace and conflict in Uganda’s oil-rich Albertine Graben region.

Find out more about our work in Uganda here.

All photos © International Alert