Peace & Health - Amidst Rape and Violence

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Two Girls Raped by Strangers and a Man Shot by Army

By Grace Luomo, AWARE Founder/Executive Director, and Teddy Curran, AWARE Technical Director, February 2012

Army Shoots Husband and Abandons Widow

Alice Merilkol, in Kaabong, is 35 years old with four children ages 3, 4, 7 and 10. Two go to the nursery at the AWARE-Uganda Centre.


Alice is HIV/AIDS positive and deaf. She lives in a grass thatched house.

Just after Christmas, her husband was shot by the army.

He had been trained by AWARE-Uganda as a home-based care giver; as he was trained, he was the one suppporting and caring for Alice.  Now, she is unable to help herself.

Alice's husband was killed on the 30th December 2011. AWARE-Uganda believes that the government should provide compensation since it's their undisciplined soildier who shot an innocent man, Alice's husband.

We are looking for legal support for Alice, to demand that the government support her and take care of her children.

Young Girls Raped by StrangersRape-Survivor2

Last year, two girls were raped and abused at 13 and 16 years of age - impregnated by strangers.

The 13-year-old girl became pregnant and now has a baby boy.  Both girls - and the baby - are being taken cared of by AWARE-Uganda at the Centre.

Theft and Damage

Very sadly, the fruit tree in AWARE's orchard have been cut down for firewood by intruders.

Security in Karamoja is still a big threat to any development, especially with the people from the neighbouring districts intruding and stealing animals, killing them in the process, which causes fear among the people who are trying to improve their own  lifestyles.

Overcoming Fear - Focusing on Peace, Health and Security

Threats to peace, health, and security present a constant struggle for Kaabong women.

World AIDS Day Celebrated

AWARE-Uganda continues HIV/AIDS counseling and seminars amongst the community and on the 1st of December, celebrated World AIDS Day.  More than 100 people who attended had utilised voluntary testing and counseling.

'Peace Begins with You and Me'16-days3

The 16 Days of Activism campaign was celebrated by the AWARE group and the community from the 25th November to 10 December 2011.

The theme was Stop Gender-Based Violence. People were encouraged by the focus of “peace begins with you and me”.

AWARE firmly coordinated the effort to sustain the campaign for the next generation; we created public awareness on the impact of violence on women and children, and encouraged collective action against all types of abuse and its prevention in the communities.16-Days1

The campaign was represented by local communities; the leader of the district who spoke about peace in the community, pointed out that the police in particular, are the ones who are supposed to reinforce the law.

The representatives included the Community Development Officer, Chief David Lobolia, Speaker Paaka Rex, Logwel John, and many more.

Discouraging Violence and the use of Guns

Local-to-local dialogue among the community members on security among the communities was helpful to encourage people to stop using arms and stop violence, in order to have peace in their homes. It was so informative and the community learnt a lot.16-days2

A workshop on security/protection and planning was also held by AWARE-Uganda in Kaabong District, organized by Protection Desk Uganda (PD-U), an organisation that trains local Human Rights Defenders (HRDs) and Human Rights Organisations (HROs) in improving security measures and protection mechanisms.

AWARE Programmes Help Improve Lives

Home-based Care for HIV/AIDS Patients

Home-based care is still one of the activities AWARE is carrying out to improve on the lives of the HIV/AIDS patients in the communities.

Maternity Waiting House - Challenges

Our maternity ward has continued to support the community, but since the MSF (Medicine Sans Frontieres) pulled out, the patients are finding it difficult to reach the facility that is available for them. maternity-wing

Since MSF's  absence, there has been an increase in the death of women and children in critical condition who cannot make their way to the Centre.

Pregnant women have benefited from the maternity ward at the Centre, and have successfully delivered and gone home.

We have ten women still at the Centre awaiting their due date. AWARE provides these women with accommodation, food, and medical emergency.  Our facility is only a two-minute walk to the main hospital.

Water and Sanitation Hygiene (WASH)

AWARE-Uganda  has a project: Water and Sanitation Hygiene (WASH).VIP-Pit-Latrine

The group has started the construction of the demonstration pit latrine, providing step-by-step demonstrations, and has now handed over the demonstration ventilated improved pit (VIP) latrine to the community.

A demonstration pit latrine has been handed over to the community church.

Lobbying for funds to be able to build more VIP latrines in the homesteads to improve hygiene at homes, and the environment.

Early Childhood Development (ECD)

Early Child Development (ECD) programme, a government programme within the ministry of education, has continued to support AWARE's Community Nursery by providing scholastic materials and food.


Collaboration with district and community leaders in planning, sharing information, and technical assistance is provided – especially with personnel in the health department, is still a major key area that AWARE has appreciated and has contributed information to.AWARE-Uganda

The Program for Accessible Health, Communication, and Education (PACE) has programmes in malaria, reproductive health, safe water, child survival, and HIV/AIDS. 

PACE is a local non-governmental,non-profit that has a programme on malaria prevention and treatment reproductive health maternal health, child survival, HIV/AIDs prevention, care, and support, as well as humantarian relief programming in Uganda.

PACE promotes products, services and healthy behaviors that enable low-income and vulnerable communities to lead healthier lives.

PACE has supported AWARE by giving mosquito nets, jerrycans, and water guards for  water purification.

Finance SchemePot-making

The women who benefited from the Finance Scheme have been grateful, and they are slowly making their payments so that others can benefit from the scheme.

The money is used for income-generating projects like poultry farming, cash crops, art and crafts in pot making and beds making, and grocery shops; this will assist them in improving their standard of living and send their children to school.

The women have been encouraged to plant trees –  including fruit trees, to protect and improve the environment.

Funding is a Constant Challenge

Food and MedicationFresh-food

AWARE has provided food and medication to the community, but it not enough.


High rates of illiteracy amongst the community has been a big hindrance in accepting and in understanding development issues.

Climate Change

The hazards of a hot and windy environment affects the efficiency of the implementation of the projects and workshops.

Transportation ProblemsRoad-to-Kaabong

AWARE has a pickup truck which is not in good condition to move in the kind of roads that Karamoja has, so it’s not a safe means of transport.  Since there is a lack of transportation means, AWARE has found it difficult to reach out to the needy in the community.

AWARE is lobbying for assistance in terms of picking up the women from the community.