Innovative projects for refugees, former child soldiers, and host communities in northern Uganda

Founded in March 2007, Grassroots Reconciliation Group (GRG) builds trust between local community members and ex-child soldiers of the LRA who have escaped from rebel captivity. Together, the two groups build relationships and work hand-in-hand on livelihood projects that they design themselves, including communal farming, brick-making, village savings and loan, animal husbandry, and peer counselling. By supporting these projects, we support the long-term rehabilitation, reconciliation, and economic capacity of the war-weary people of northern Uganda.

Why We Do It

For over twenty years, northern Ugandans have suffered a brutal war between the rebel Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) and the Government of Uganda. The abduction of thousands of children to serve as soldiers in the LRA was one one of the worst aspects of the conflict. At the height of the war, up to two million people were living in internal displacement camps, vulnerable to hunger, disease, and brutal LRA attacks, which child soldiers were often forced to carry out.

Former soldiers who escape from the LRA usually spend six to eight weeks recovering physically and psychologically in reception centers. GRG helps to meet the extensive need for follow-up with these individuals by strengthening long-term reconciliation between ex-LRA combatants and their communities of return.

GRG’s unique participatory approach enables communities to design community-led projects in which GRG works directly with the groups over several years to ensure sustainability. On average, GRG works with each group for 4-5 years before they graduate to lead their own programs building on support from GRG. Our five program areas include: livelihoods; microfinance; trauma; counselling and care; culture and recreation; and reconciliation.