The Women’s Advocacy Network (WAN) was founded by war-affected women in northern Uganda, and seeks to empower its more than 500 members to realize economic security, health and well being and social justice.
The war between the Ugandan Government and the armed group, the Lord’s Resistance Army, displaced more than one million persons. Tens of thousands of children and youth were abducted by the LRA and forced to labour and fight. Young girls were forced to marry and have children to rebel commanders.
WAN began modestly in 2008, working with other survivors to document and tell our stories (ododo wa) through storytelling projects, helping women break the silence about their experiences of abduction, forced marriage and motherhood. With the help of the Justice and Reconciliation Project (JRP) in Gulu, northern Uganda, we formed small subgroups in different regions and met regularly and in regional conferences to talk about the challenges of reintegration after the conflict ended. These challenge include living with social stigma, economic marginalization, raising our children and looking for missing loved ones.
In 2014, we presented a Petition to Parliament, asking for reparations. We continue to work with JRP in hopes of one day being recognized. In 2015, we registered as a community based organization in Gulu, northern Uganda and are currently seeking to support our members through:
- Provide access to livelihood projects
- Gain access to essential health, social and educational services
- Provide peer support to members when they face challenges such as depression, ill-health
- Conduct familial tracing of the paternal clan to our children, and to reconcile with the families of the men who forced us into marriage;
- Assist in the search for missing children;
- Reduce stigma and social exclusion
- Seek justice and reparation