SAFE stands for Supporting Access to Justice, Fostering Equity and Peace. This five-year Project is implemented by the National Center for State Courts, based in Arlington, Virginia and is funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).
With USAID’s generous support, it is our hope and our goal to empower government institutions to resolve lo-cal conflicts and to eliminate sources of violence in Uganda. We want to help create a safe environment for development and economic growth, and we want to build mechanisms that allow the people of Uganda to focus on the future.
SAFE’s five-year program focuses on the development of transparent processes to resolve and to mitigate conflicts related to land, the discovery of oil, and cultural and ethnic diversity.
Historically, as I believe the readers of this magazine know, local disputes have too often distracted attention from the many avenues for growth that Uganda enjoys in such abundance. Uganda’s fertile land, and mineral resources, and energetic young population provide this region with tremendous opportunities for wealth and development, but in order for Uganda to enjoy its full potential, the public needs to trust in both the rule of law and local government institutions as effective, appealing, and equitable alternatives to violence.
SAFE is proud of our partnership with Civil Society Organizations and the Government to put into place these effective alternatives to violence. By 2017, SAFE will have awarded $5 million in grants to CSOs to support this cardinal cause. During our first round of grants, issued in November 2013, SAFE awarded $1.2m to 16 Ugandan NGOs.
We will award a second round of grants in June 2014. The programs we are funding bring legal aid to under serviced communities; provide valuable information to citizens on how to settle land disputes and introduce communities to the alternative dispute resolution mechanisms that are available to them. Other programs we are funding are creating community networks for peace building and engaging youth in peace and reconciliation activities.
These grants to Civil Society Organizations will support further efforts in our two programmatic components Access to Justice and Peace and Reconciliation. I want to share with you some of our recent accomplishments: