Is CEPCOM a Refugee Organisation?

When CEPCOM was founded in 2009, its roots were anchored in the plight of the numerous refugees with whom one of its principal progenitors, Stephen Kuteesa, had come into contact while working with the Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS).  It was therefore only natural that among its first beneficiaries would be those victims of senseless violent conflict. As a result, up to this day many of the people benefitting from CEPCOM’s service, whether as students in the English language, hairdressing or artisan classes, or as clients of its legal advocacy services, are refugees from neighboring countries like the DR Congo, Rwanda, Burundi and the Sudan. < /p>

To the casual observer this often gives the erroneous impression that CEPCOM is essentially a refugee organization. In fact, though, it is dedicated to the mitigation of conflict and building peaceful coexistence between communities, whether Ugandan or migrant. To this end all CEPCOM programs, including the numerous livelihoods support endeavors being constantly hatched for the benefit of Ugandans and refugees alike, have one common denominator: building peace through the removal of barriers to social and economic inclusion for all, irrespective of ethnic or other background or political or religious affiliation. This model of service is premised on a vision of the world as our common home and the divisions based on race, religion or politics as mere socially-constructed distinctions without a difference.

A significant result of the misconstruction of CEPCOM as a refugee organization has been the reluctance of many Ugandan would-be beneficiaries to shy away from its activities, with most Ugandans referring to Peace House, the home of CEPCOM, as “that place of the Congolese”.

It is therefore the purpose of this message to correct this impression and welcome everyone aboard as we try to build a better world for all its citizen children, Ugandan as well as migrant, for it is our common home in which, paradoxically, all are but visitors, which makes all of us refugees in a certain very real sense.

By Joe Stevens Mande,
Communication & Resource Mobilisation Consultant

Leave a Reply