“If the problem is local let us also get local solutions,” affirms Ugandan human rights advocate and peacebuilder Victor Ochen.
Ochen is the Founder and Executive Director for African Youth Initiative Network (AYINET). Ochen, who spent 21 years as a refugee, has turned his traumatic experience as a victim of war in northern Uganda into an instructive manual on how to help other young people avoid conflict and embrace peace.
To do that, he has channelled the anguish he felt when his older brother Geoffrey Omara and his cousin James Opio were abducted by the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) in 2003 as a source of inspiration to help other young people:
“The trauma became so close to me became too personal to me leading me to feeling the determination to even do more. I was on the brink of crashing out and falling out of my initially chosen path of peace. But something in me kept on telling me: stay strong and stay calm, in fact, do more to support people who are going through the pain like what you going through. In 2004 I started forming this initiative called the African Youth Initiative Network, primarily to help me have a legitimate background talk to fellow young people in the community to promote peace.”
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