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KONY 2012/ For true peace, education and stability are necessary

AVSI representative in Uganda JOHN MAKOHA discusses what needs to be done to achieve peace and stability and not simply cause a new Kony. He focuses mainly on the need for education. 

Ugandan army hunting rebels of the LRA Ugandan army hunting rebels of the LRA

The sequel to “Kony 2012,” was released last week, giving a more detailed call to action proposed for April 20. Following up with a previous interview, IlSussidiario.net asks John Makoha, Uganda Country Representative for the international non-profit AVSI Foundation, for further detail about how their presence concretely answers the needs of the people in northern Uganda made famous by the original video which has over 100 million views online. AVSI has been present in Uganda since 1984, throughout the period of crisis, and now has 200 staff members working on education, health, water and sanitation, nutrition, livelihoods, HIV/AIDS, and protection projects in Kampala, Gulu and Kitgum.

Mr. Makoha, in your previous interview you said that, in order to avoid the arrival of a new Kony, it is important to create an environment where peace is sustainable.Could you describe what you meant?
Already now, when I look at the small villages in northern Uganda and the growing livelihoods of the people, I see it would be more difficult for a Kony to come in and be successful.  The people have more stability, more ability to sustain themselves, so it is not so easy for them to say “I will go in for a rebellion” or something that will not bring much to their lives. This is different than a military approach or the approach of the Kony 2012 theme. For me, Kony can just be understood as a phenomenon. In fact, before Kony there was his aunt Alice Lakwenya. Kony just inherited the war from the aunt. But the aunt was never captured by government forces; she died a natural death in a refugee camp. It means that a military solution has not happened in the experience of the people living in that region, so it does not seem a viable solution. Also, when they showed the Kony video for the very first time to youth in northern Uganda, they said “No, this is not acceptable, you are bringing back the bad memories,” but even more than that, they could not see the real contribution of that film to unemployment, to having better livelihoods.  Even if a military capture did happen, if the livelihoods of those people are not transformed, you will still have the factors that create a Kony.

After almost 30 years of conflict, during which most of the 2 million northern Ugandans were living in camps for displaced persons, about 90% have returned to their homes. Could you describe what this means for the households and children?