March 15, 2007
Projects are community generated

By Jackie Nalubwama

Charles Drici is NUSAF’s District Technical Officer in Nakapiripirit District. He tells The Weekly Observer NUSAF’s achievements in Nakapiripirit.

How old is NUSAF in Nakapiripirit?
It delayed slightly by one year, so we are 3 years old compared to other Northern districts.

What has it done in 3 years?
It has funded 150 Projects at a cost of about Shs. 3.2 billion. We have 3 components in which the Projects are divided: Community Development Initiatives (CDI), Vulnerable Groups Support (VGS) and Community Reconciliation and Conflict Management (CRCM).

Nakapiripirit district technical officer behind his desk

In CDI, we have Projects that provide infrastructure to the community. Projects such as: boreholes, classrooms, community roads and cattle dips. VGS on the other hand is further divided into sectors: income generating, vocational training, family support and lastly time and labour saving.

And CRCM consists of such Projects as: support to community reconciliation initiatives, support to community dialogue and support to traditional institutions.

How does NUSAF arrive at Projects?
We sensitise the community on what is available and what we can finance, so that the community comes up with ideas that increase its income.

We simply expose the people to opportunities and then they come up with their own ideas; ideas that will improve their livelihoods. We have community facilitators that the community selects as people they trust to help them come up with viable Projects.

But they [facilitators] are not NUSAF staff. In fact it is the community that pays the facilitators after NUSAF has given it money for the Project. After that different groups arise from the community with viable proposals for Projects and we fund them.

How has NUSAF tackled insecurity in Nakapiripirit?
We have not done a lot yet because we use Community Reconciliation and Conflict Management (CRCM) through which we use dialogue but you can find that it is not sustainable. This is because they [the locals] clash after we have conducted peace dialogues. Peace can last for about 6 months and then when the weather gets hot and dry, they fight again.

The raids have become commercialised [though] a few are traditional. With commercialised raids, cattle are raided for sale, so it’s harder to convict them because they don’t have the cattle by the time they are charged. They have become businessmen. But traditionally after the raid, cattle would be kept by the clan either for marriage or sustainability.

And these clans would negotiate with each other the return of such cattle lest [the attacked clan] also counter attacked. Peace would then last for at least 10 years. But commercialised raids are unpredictable.

For those who we persuaded to stop raiding, [or] the gun-drop-outs, we have aided them by providing alternative income generating activities; such as cereal banking.

How can NUSAF be more effective in its peace strategy?
The CRCM approach should be changed because it is working under the assumption that it is the community that is supposed to come up with the demand for peace but it can’t do much.

I was thinking that we should change the approach and use a multi-sectored and multi-community demand for peace. This would involve government institutions, NGOs, together with the community, to draw a consolidated strategy. Then sustainability of peace will be assured, since everybody is involved. The plan for peace would be cross-cutting.