For many years, CVT Uganda extended rehabilitative care to survivors of torture who were affected by the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) conflict, as well as working with mental health counselors in the region with ongoing intensive training and supervision, and mentoring graduate students of psychology through a partnership with Makerere University in Kampala.
From 1986 to the height of Uganda’s war in 2006, the LRA battled government troops and targeted civilians in local communities. LRA rebels murdered, mutilated and tortured individuals. Children were also abducted and recruited as soldiers, cooks and sex slaves. For those who escaped and those who sought safety, close to 2 million people moved into camps for internally displaced persons. The conflict had terrible effects on survivors, many of whom still suffer from depression, anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder.
CVT Uganda focused its work in three core areas: extending mental health care, delivering training and supervision for local counseling professionals, and mentoring psychology graduate students.
CVT extended rehabilitative care to survivors of torture and war atrocities committed during the war inflicted by the LRA in northern Uganda. CVT hired members of the local community as psychosocial counselors. Counselors were then provided with intensive training and supervision so they could provide care directly to survivors in Uganda, many of whom told stories of abductions, rape, and forced servitude. More than two-thirds of the survivors in the counseling groups were women, who were frequently marginalized after their torture. Under CVT’s care, survivors of torture were able to rebuild their lives and begin to reconnect with their communities.
CVT provided ongoing training and support for counselors at partner organizations. CVT began its work in Uganda in 2009, starting with an initiative to enhance the ability of local organizations to provide healing services. CVT continued to work with local mental health counselors to help build their capacity to extend care to those who survived the LRA conflict. These mental health counselors were also able to obtain a certificate through Makerere University, following the completion of a year-long training curriculum and supervision sessions.
CVT mentored psychology students. CVT established a close relationship with the Makerere University Department of Psychology in Kampala. To build the skills of upcoming psychologists, CVT worked with masters-level psychology students as interns.
CVT Uganda was supported by the Trust Fund for Victims. With the unique roles of implementing both Court-ordered reparations and general rehabilitation assistance to victims of crimes under the ICC’s jurisdiction, the Trust Fund for victims offered key advantages for promoting lasting peace, reconciliation and well-being in war-torn societies.