The Naporoto Youth Peace Group was created by a number of reformed warriors and community members from the border village of Kalapata in the Karamoja region of Uganda.
Just a few kilometres from the borders with Kenya and South Sudan, many members of the group used to raid cattle and fight the Ugandan government then cross the borders to escape capture.
When the government initiated a program to collect small arms in the region, together with the wives of the warriors, the local counsellor reached out to those hiding in the bush. He provided his phone number so they could call and negotiate their safe return, assuring them that they would not be arrested or threatened.
When the warriors first returned, they found they were singled out and kept at arm’s length from the rest of the community. However, many were able to rejoin their families and start the Youth Peace Group together with their family members and others from the community. The group has now been gathering for a number of years to discuss and work through the various issues faced by the community, including threats from other nearby communities, alternative livelihood options, and group gardens.
While the community still faces challenges, the former warriors report that they are now able to live and work together with the others in peace. The group now wishes to be able to carry on holding regular discussion sessions and to help educate others in their community and beyond in order to spread the word that peace is possible and brings prosperity. They have also recently begun group savings and are discussing buying livestock together.