New Year’s message from Country Director

Dear partners and friends,

As the year 2018starts, I wish to thank each and every one of you for your support to our mission. We appreciate all the support which you provided throughout the past years to Advance Afrika – it has made a difference for the youth in our communities! When we started Advance Afrika in 2012, one of our goals was to change the way young people are looked at in this country by empowering them especially those who are in and out of prison. We are making significant strides in achieving this initial goal of addressing the root causes of vulnerability by: Developing opportunities for economic empowerment and transforming the social functionality of communities.

We are especially grateful to all our donors and development partners: European Union, Caritas Switzerland, AGEH (Civil Peace Service), FK Norway, Uganda Prisons Service, JPC-Lira, the German Embassy in Uganda and the Government of Uganda who are standing with us in this journey. Your support enables us to reach out to more people who are deserving of our efforts.

Seeing that our continued effort in engaging various stakeholders from the legislative and correctional field yield fruits especially in the services provided for prison inmates in Uganda is one milestone we shall hold dear to our hearts. This includes, among others: a shift from the punitive retributive culture to a rehabilitative approach; improved conditions of inmates in incarceration and ensuring inmates are prepared for re-entry into the community.

Within the last year, we have started looking critically into the reintegration of ex-inmatesand the role community members can play in it. We started two new interventions: Victim-Offender Relationship Project (VORP) in Lango and the Social Economic Empowerment of Female Inmates in West Nile (SEFI). Through these, we reached out to communities in Lango and West Nile, and put a new thematic focus on conflict transformation as well as the situation of female prison inmates.

It has been an exciting year for us as an organisation. We launched not only the third Day Care Centre in the whole country for children of prison inmates at Gulu Women Prison – but also the newly established bands for inmates at Gulu Main/ Women Prison and Ex-inmates in Gulu. We were honoured to host a delegation from Caritas Switzerland, our major donor and development partner led by Director – Hugo Fasel and the Head of Department for International Cooperation- Anja Ebnöther. With the support from the European Union and Caritas Switzerland, we reached out to 696 inmates and 197 ex-inmates within last year of 2017. 52 prison social workers received further trainings and 54 student facilitators were engaged in the review of business plans. Over 2,100 prison inmates also took part in performing art Gala’s at Lira Main/Women and Gulu Main/Women prison units respectively.

We know for a fact that 2018 will bring a new set of challenges that will require renewed efforts as we support prison inmates, ex-inmates and youths in our communities to realise their full potential.

Collectively, we are all contributing to protecting the dignity of those vulnerable men and women. As we begin the new year, we wish to renew our commitment to impacting the lives of the most vulnerable in our societies. Thank you for all your hard work and all you do for Advance Afrika, our beneficiaries and for our mission.

From all of us at Advance Afrika, we wish you all a happy new year and we look forward to another successful year.

With appreciation,

Rwankangi Ronald