Welcome!We are a grassroots non-governmental organization working in Uganda. We work directly with victims and their communities to ensure a future of peace, justice and dignity for all.
The African Youth Initiative Network (AYINET), Uganda, carries out activities in three key areas.
First, we help the victims of war that have been physically and emotionally harmed and are in need of medical and psychological rehabilitation.
Second, we support community-focused initiatives that help mobilize victims around their rights and transform their lives and communities in the aftermath of the war.
Third, we support the development of youth leadership and activism for peacebuilding.
African Youth Initiative Network (AYINET), with support from national, international partners and the Government of Uganda, will host the first International War Victims Conference in Uganda in 2013. The specific month and date will be communicated shortly, keep checking the website for updates. The conference will bring together humanitarian and human rights activists, peace builders, government representatives, academics and war victims from around the world.
The conference aims to give human rights activists and survivors of war a platform to discuss and raise international awareness of the plight of war victims and to build international support for caring for these survivors and protecting their rights. “Victims of war worldwide are still marginalized, not only in daily life but in the peacebuilding and development process as well. Through this conference, we want to mainstream these victims into the process, give survivors the global visibility and contribute to healing the lives of the people who have suffered the most” says Victor Ochen, director of AYINET.
The first public screening of Invisible Children’s video Kony 2012 in northern Uganda took place in Lira Town on 13 March 2012. It was organized by AYINET (the African Youth Initiative Network) a Ugandan NGO that works in support of the victims of the LRA war. The screening was attended by thousands of people from across northern Uganda; it was broadcast live on five local FM radio stations that reach approximately 2 million people in northern Uganda.
The African Youth Initiative Network (AYINET) is bringing the video Kony 2012, produced by the U.S. charity Invisible Children, to remote areas of northern Uganda. Since it was posted on the internet the short film has attracted over 70 million viewers worldwide. Founded in 2005, AYINET’s focus is helping the victims of war that have been physically and emotionally harmed and are in need of medical and psychological rehabilitation.
In northern Uganda, few the war survivors have access to internet, television and electricity. If the people of that region have heard of the film at all, their information has so far been almost exclusively from secondary sources. For this reason AYINET is organizing community screening across northern Uganda, starting from Lira Town on 13th March 2012, 7:00 PM East Africa time.
In light of the recent publicity around Invisible Children’s ‘Kony 2012’ documentary and campaign, and speaking as a survivor, a young man born and raised in the midst of the LRA war, growing up in internally displaced persons (IDP) camps and avoiding abductions in many ways, struggling with my security, feeding and education, my life story represents the realities of the Kony’s LRA war and its aftermath. As the director of the organization, African Youth Initiative Network (AYINET) that was founded in 2005, and working with the most dedicated group of young people whom some are direct war victims, former child soldiers. Our painful childhood experiences didn’t make us less but instead created in us the conviction to care and save lives of our people who are hurt, and are struggling with physical and emotional pains.
It’s against this background that I would like to make a response to Kony 2012, in the following four points and from the survivors’ point of view.
First, it is important to take stock of the efforts by the Government of Uganda, the African Union, European Union, the United States and other key international partners to help end the LRA threat once and for all. These actions are important but much more needs to be done. In particular there is a need for much greater protection of civilians in South Sudan and the DRC and Central African Republic where the LRA is now active. Furthermore, many of the devastating effects of the war between the LRA and the Government of Uganda have still not been addressed in northern Uganda, even though the LRA has not been active here since 2006. These include the most serious physical and mental health effects, the weakening of key social and protective services, the nearly complete absence of remedy for harms suffered, and an utter lack of accountability.
Michael was shot through his femur when rebels shot and killed his mother while she was carrying him tied to her back. His wound went untreated for years, it was badly infected and the smell was so overwhelming that his father moved him into a hut on his own. When I found him, he was malnourished and largely abandoned by his family.
Michael’s family is desperately poor and was unable to provide any treatment for him. I took him to multiple doctors until I found one who did not recommend amputating his leg. Michael underwent various surgeries over a period of several months before the wound was cleaned and he was able to begin his recovery.
AYINET staff stayed with Michael at the hospital the entire time to care for him, feed him and help with his therapy. Here you see Michael as he is departing the hospital upon his recovery. Today, he lives at home with his father and siblings, attends primary school, and runs and plays with the other children.