Uganda | Center for Victims of Torture


Healing in Northern Uganda

CVT Uganda extends rehabilitative care to survivors of torture who were affected by the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) conflict, and has worked in a number of locations and through partnerships over more than 12 years. The work began with mental health care and expanded as needs arose for trauma-informed care and training. The program began after the war, in which 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 enslaved persons. Of those who escaped and sought safety, close to two million people moved into camps for internally displaced persons. The conflict had terrible impacts on survivors, many of whom still suffer from depression, anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder.

To address the mental health of affected communities and to build the capacity of regional professions as they worked in this field, CVT Uganda focused on the following initiatives.

CVT extends rehabilitative care to survivors of torture and war atrocities committed by the LRA in northern Uganda. CVT hires members of the local community as psychosocial counselors. Counselors are then provided with intensive training and supervision so they can provide care directly to survivors in Uganda, many of whom tells stories of abductions, rape, and forced servitude. More than two-thirds of the survivors in the counseling groups are women, who were frequently marginalized after their torture at their return to their community. Under CVT’s care, survivors of torture are able to rebuild their lives and begin to reconnect with their communities.

In the first ten years of the CVT Uganda program, more than 2,000 clients received care. Since the pandemic began in 2020, 487 clients were still able to come to CVT for care.

In the past, CVT provided training and support for counselors at partner organizations, starting with an initiative to enhance the ability of local organizations to provide healing services. Over the years, CVT worked with more than 120 local mental health counselors to help build their capacity to extend care to those who survived the LRA conflict, and established a formal partnership with the Makerere University School of Psychology in Kampala. Though the project has ended, in recent years, 65 counselors earned a one-year certificate and 19 two-year diplomas in Trauma Counseling, following the completion of the training curriculum and supervision sessions

Supporting Partners in Isingiro
Starting in 2021, CVT began working in Isingiro in the southwestern region of Uganda. CVT provides training and skills development for our partner Alight, a nongovernmental organization that provides humanitarian aid and disaster relief. Alight works in the Nakivale refugee settlement, where refugees have come for many years, fleeing persecution and torture in their home countries. CVT helps Alight’s psychosocial counselors develop capacity in trauma-informed practices as they work on issues of child protection, gender-based violence and community services.

A Two-Year Project at Bidi Bidi Refugee Settlement
From 2019-20, CVT expanded to extend rehabilitative care to South Sudanese refugee trauma and torture survivors in the Bidi Bidi refugee settlement. Over the course of the project, CVT offered both psychological first aid to those in need of immediate stabilization and 10-week group counseling sessions for adults who benefited from longer-term mental health care. During its two-year run, 365 clients received care from CVT.


CVT is grateful to our funder, Fondation d'Harcourt.



CVT Uganda is also funded by Together Women Rise. Together Women Rise is a powerful community of women and allies dedicated to global gender equality. We have hundreds of local chapters across the U.S. Members come together to learn about and advocate for gender equality issues, give grants to organizations that empower women and girls in low-income countries, and build community to forge meaningful connections that increase our strength and collective impact.






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