PeaceWoman of the Month
Peace activist from Uganda
Victoria Nyanjura grew up in the Oyam district in northern Uganda. In 1996, at the age of 14, she was abducted by the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA), a paramilitary group. She was abused and forced into marriage. Victoria was one of many victims: in Uganda, between 24,000 and 38,000 young people and children are estimated to have been exploited as child soldiers, assistants and sex slaves since 1984. She spent eight years in captivity and bore two children. In 2004, she could finally escape, underwent rehabilitation and returned to her parents’ home.
“Life is what you make it“
Despite her traumatic youth, Victoria managed to pursue further studies and received a Bachelor’s degree in Development Studies in 2014. She now uses her skills and her life experience to promote sustainable peace: as a project assistant at the Justice and Reconciliation Project (JRP), a Ugandan organization, she works with war-affected communities. At the JPR, she also coordinates the Women’s Advocacy Network – a forum where war-affected women come together to advocate for the acknowledgement of gender-based violence inflicted on them during war in northern Uganda: they demand justice and accountability. The Women’s Advocacy Network was instrumental in advancing a recent petition for redress signed by more than 1,000 war-affected women. The Petition resulted in the Parliament of Uganda unanimously passing a resolution to that effect. There is still much work to be done: “women must not be used as weapons of war – women are movers of change”, Victoria says.