Gulu Women Economic Development & Globalization (GWED-G) was founded by grassroots women in Northern Uganda who suffered the impact of the war– women whose rights had been violated and those whose children have been forcefully abducted by the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA). For over 23 years, LRA terrorized the northern region with physical and psychological torture, forcing over 1.6 million Ugandans to leave their ancestral land and relocate into Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) Camps. This had a profound effect on the culture, education, health, and livelihood in the region.
The main focus of GWED-G’s work is on peace building and human rights concerns of WOMEN and people who are returning or have returned to their local communities after displacement. This include all aspects of human rights like basic social rights, rights to food, shelter, health and education, and elements of women’s peace building modules on mediation skills, negotiation, reconciliation, and forgiveness. Violence against women was one of the main concerns in the IDP camps and it has not stopped after the return home. Poverty, land rights and other economic, social and cultural rights are major concerns in the return and reconstruction process, while monitoring, documenting and reporting violations of civil and political right cannot be neglected. Many youth have turned to risky behaviors as a way of life because of the cultural breakdown and lack of knowledge on tradition that have resulted from decades in the camps.
GWED-G is committed to working with women, youth, child mothers, orphans and vulnerable children (OVC), men, and community leaders to promote the rights of women and vulnerable populations and their participation in the peace building process in war-affected Northern Uganda. We support innovative and groundbreaking initiatives in communities to encourage social change. GWED-G was the first women’s organization to provide training projects for rural human rights volunteers for women’s groups in Gulu and Amuru Districts, and established the first women’s structures in more than 7 IDP camps in Gulu called Grassroots Women’s Groups (GWG) who were trained as peace mentors and agent of change within their own communities.
Since our inception, GWED-G has grown to implement short- and long-term sustainable development programs aligned with Health, Human Rights, Peace Building, Economic and Social Empowerment, Psychosocial Support, Research, and Advocacy. In the past, we have received funding from Amnesty International, Care International, the American Refugee Council (ARC), Independent Development Fund (IDF), and many others. We welcome partnerships both locally and internationally, and we are currently collaborating with groups such as the Northern Uganda Human Rights Coalition and GlobeMed at Columbia University. In the last 8 years, GWED-G has worked with over 140,000 women, men, youth, local leaders, government officials, and international organizations to promote peace and development in our communities.