Regional Associates for Community Initiatives (RACI) was formed as result of years of engagement with communities in Northern Uganda to support women lead initiatives for sustainable peace. The climax of such engagement was the USAID funded study project , which found among others the need to have full and equal participation of the communities especially at all levels of decision making in the formal and informal processes. The requirement for Civil and civic engagement of the most “vulnerable” members of the communities to exercise their “power” as provided under the Constitution. To that extent it was found very critical to move the agenda of participation from rhetoric to Practice and lead by the grass roots populace; while the Gou programs have serious capacity challenges, the private sector has its limitations, in advancing complementarity agenda, RACI aims to facilitate the participation of these women from a peace and security view point. At an Akina Mama wa Africa AWLI the dream was conceived, nurtured and finally RACI was born and registered as a legal entity under the laws of Uganda.
The proposed activities and intervention strategies will be informed and guided by the three inter-related and intertwined strands as stipulated in RACI Philosophy of change; 1-Agency, 2-Relation, and 3-Structure that reflects community lead participation in practice. RACI Women Peace and Security WPS programs are meant to engage communities as Able, Willing and Equal stakeholders, build capacity of women leaders and communities in the project areas in advocacy, civic responsibilities/engagement, peace building, life skills, conflict resolution, economic justice among others, so that they can effectively participate in peace and security governance processes from the grassroots to the national level as called for under the UN SCR 1325 . The program will also support women leaders to advocate for the implementation of UN resolution 1325 at the local, regional and national levels. This will be achieved through mobilisation and sensitization of both women and men on UN resolution 1325; skills training in advocacy and peace building, security governance, civic education, advocacy campaigns for the inclusion of historically marginalized groups at all levels. Special focus will be given to the implementation of the ICGLR Heads of States Kampala Declaration 2011 on Zero Tolerance to SGBV and the Peace and Security Pact as well as the AU Constitutive Act Economic justice is an integral part of the WPS component as stated “ A rich woman is a respected woman” This will be done through agri-business , Village Savings and Loans Associations VSLA, co-operative models of association and empowerment.
Widows and orphans at the grassroots level; Young women and girls,
The program will target elder, leaders at various levels including political, cultural and religious leaders as well as other women human rights defenders/ activists (including men), opinion leaders, and leaders of CSO’s will also be targeted; overall, one third of the project participants will be men.
To this end, RACI undertakes to do the following:
- Build capacity through tailored skills training
- Expand the knowledge base to develop transformational ideas that can be developed to create visions and agents of change around the four Pillar of UN SCR 1325;
- Create opportunities to transfer knowledge to achieve multiplier effects for communities;
- Build lasting partnerships with other entities at the local, national, regional and International levels that will maintain an African women /community-led vision of change as a peace and security agenda.
- Carry out action research or study to find /define causes and propose lasting/sustainable solutions.
- Carry out the creation of community of practice of peace and security agenda through mentorship, internship, advocacy, documentation, strategic engagement.