In Kitgum, I found an incredible Memorial to the Conflict in Northern Uganda that I would
recommend to future travellers.
Set in a building built by the US Marines, this newly launched museum is a memorial to the brutal war that devastated Northern Uganda between 1986 and 2006. The decades-long struggle between the Lord’s Resistance Army led by Joseph Kony and the Ugandan government resulted in massive human rights violations against the local population. With 100,000s killed, 75,000 children abducted and forced to become child soldiers (or sex slaves) and 1.6 million people displaced from their homes, by 2006 Northern Uganda had become one of the worst humanitarian disasters in the world.
Ten years after Kony’s forces fled the region, the predominantly Acholi people of Northern Uganda are struggling to cope with their traumatic past and work toward a better future. The National Memory and Peace Documentation Center (NMPDC), a joint project between the Refugee Law Project and the Kitgum District government, is the only place in the country that formally recognizes the atrocities committed against civilians in Northern Uganda.
The NMPDC is a “must see” for any visitor who wants to learn about Uganda’s troubled history and support its long journey to peace and reconciliation. The Center contains a museum-like exhibition that tells the history of the conflict and features artifacts,
including old weapons, pictures from IDP camps, and letters from ex-LRA soldiers. It provides a memorial space for survivors to remember loved ones they had lost, get in touch with their traumatic memories, and experience new ways of healing. It is also a space that revives and celebrates Northern Uganda’s artistic and cultural heritage, much of which was under threat of being lost and forgotten during the war.
As an American, I personally found the experience of visiting the Center and talking to survivors incredibly meaningful. People feel so forgotten in this part of the world that receiving any visitors from abroad makes them feel acknowledged and appreciated. The Center in Kitgum is a great place for travelers to learn more about the conflict and a convenient stop on the way to Kidepo Valley National Park. It is my sincere hope that more people visit the Center and experience the simple beauty of Northern Uganda.
Here is the contact information of the Manager of the Center:
Tel: +256776897117; +256392592400