Grassroots Reconciliation Group’s (GRG) history begins in 2005. GRG started as the Grassroots Program, part of a USAID-funded program on reconciliation, the Northern Uganda Peace Initiative. GRG co-founders Sasha Lezhnev and Kasper Agger and GRG staff James Latigo and Othniel Oyo were all involved in the initial implementation of the USAID program.
After three years, USAID’s contract with NUPI ended as planned, but northern Ugandan participants in the Grassroots Program wanted to continue the initiative: they were enthusiastic about the hope it was bringing to this war-torn area. Sasha and Kasper saw the program’s successes and potential for healing these communities, and the need to adddress reconciliation beyond one-time conflict resolution sensitizations or short stays for former child soldiers in reception centers.
In March 2007, Sasha and Kasper, working with community leaders in Uganda, founded GRG to address this critical need. With great dedication and a firm belief in the cause, they decided to personally fund the organization. They assembled a dedicated board of directors who are convinced of the GRG’s positive role in fostering peace in the region. GRG’s board brings expertise and commitment to northern Uganda and to peace and reconciliation efforts. In July 2007, GRG received U.S. 501(c)(3) non-profit organization status and status as an NGO in Uganda.
Since then, GRG has grown in communities across northern Uganda, now working with over 400 people in building hope. Our projects are deliberately inclusive – working with former child soldiers, women, youth, and the elderly – so that no group is stigmatized, and that the foundations for peace-building and reconciliation are built successfully. As long as the needs continue, we plan to continue to expand and graduate GRG groups over the coming years.