Founded in March 2007, Grassroots Reconciliation Group (GRG)’s mission is to support war-affected communities, refugees, combatants, and former child soldiers in northern Uganda to help heal their war trauma, rebuild their lives, and reconcile through holistic, culturally appropriate, and locally designed projects.
Why We Do It
For over twenty years, Northern Ugandans have suffered a brutal war between the rebel group the 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 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, often forced to be carried out by the child soldiers themselves.
Former soldiers who manage to escape from the LRA usually spend six to eight weeks in reception centers trying to recover physically and psychologically. GRG helps to meet the extensive need for follow-up work with these individuals by strengthening long-term reconciliation between ex-LRA combatants and their communities of return.
Our unique participatory approach enables communities to design community-led projects, with GRG working 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 the support from GRG. Our five program areas include livelihoods, microfinance, reconciliation, trauma counseling and care, and culture and recreation.
From 2018, we have adopted our holistic bottom-up approach to foster peaceful integration of refugees from South Sudan into the northern districts to reduce tensions and promote social inclusion through trauma counselling, local peace dialogues and mediations and sustainable livelihoods. All this using our expertise and lessons learned from the complexity of reconciliation and reintegration between former child soldiers and their war-affected communities.