Reconciling and reintegrating former child soldiers of Kony's Lord's Resistance Army with their communities.
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Jan 2013 16

Where our graduated groups are one year later: over 90% still working together

Posted in Featured, News

By Christopher Maclay

The Grassroots Reconciliation Group finished working with its first cohort of groups (involving more than 450 people) in late 2011. Given GRG’s commitment to impact and recording impact, we have recently been following up with these groups to see the sustainability of GRG’s interventions.

The findings have been hugely encouraging. 16 of the 17 groups are still fully in operation, and many of them are thriving, expanding their collaborative agricultural efforts, and providing an ongoing form of social support to each other.

Take Gengo Loyo Canyo (meaning ‘Prevention is better than the cure’) in Opit. The group continues to work together on agricultural production, and recently replicated its learning on vegetable production from GRG on a bigger scale. To do this, they used assets provided by GRG to plough land, and invested their own money into the purchase of seeds. Not only that, but the group continues to provide a valuable source of social support for each other; as one member explained, “The most important thing that I’ve seen is that it unites us – the young, the old, and we work together.”

Group members at Opit show off their recently ploughed garden

Moreover, the individual benefits of group engagement have continued. Odogo Alfred, the Vice Chairman of Gengo Loyo Canyo (left in the picture above), explained that he had recently been elected as the Youth Chairman of the community. He explained that his participation, and later leadership role within the GRG group, had changed the way people saw him, and gave him the encouragement to become a leader. Odogo said: “GRG gave me the responsibility to take care of all the benefits that came to the group… they saw that I wasn’t a thief.”

This story is just one from an ongoing research process, in which we have already interviewed over 40 people. We will publish further findings from the report when it is complete in early 2013.

 

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