Kotido Peace Initiative (KOPEIN)

PO Box 75

Romano Longole
Kotido Peace Initiative is an interfaith, Non-partisan, Non Denominational and Non Governmental Organisation for creating the necessary conditions for the Development of the Kotido District by working for peace and towards the transformation of violent conflicts in Kotido District. Kotido Peace Initiative (KOPEIN) was established in November 1st 2000 as pro active peace body working with the kraal leaders to bring peace in Kotido District and the neighbouring districts. The formation of KOPEIN was dictated by the violence which occurred in March 2000 between the Karimojong and their neighbours within Uganda in the districts of Katakwi, Lira, Pader and Kitgum. The wave of violence which sparked out from Katakwi as a result of misunderstanding between the Iteso and Bokora Karimojong spread like wild fire and affected all Karimojong who were by then grazing their animals in Lira, Pader and Kitgum districts. During the violence a lot of animals got lost as a result of the confusion. It is believed that a good number of the neighbouring districts worked hand in hand with the army to dislodge the Karimojong from their grazing havens, exposing them to the tough dry weather in Karamoja. It was still the middle of the dry season and this caused more loses in terms of animals and human life when the Karimojong were being suddenly driven in haste by the Uganda People Defence Forces (UPDF). There was bitterness on either sides and forgiveness was not foreseen between the two groups. The attempts by the district leaderships of Pader and Kotido to address the deteriorating situation in one of the cross border meetings resulted in physical confrontations, insults and counter accusations against each other. There was need for a neutral body to organise such dialogue meetings and only the religious leaders qualified to be respected by both sides.
By January 2001, the peace negotiation spearheaded by religious leaders between the people of East Acholi under the Acholi Religious Leaders Peace Initiative (ARLPI) and the Jie of Kotido district were organised under the Department of Justice and Peace of Kotido Catholic Diocese.
Their Work: 
KOPEIN works hand in hand with all peace stakeholders which include actors elders, kraal leaders, youth (karacuna), women, civil society organisations, security personnel, civil leaders and district administrators. KOPEIN is charged with the responsibilities to carry out its activities in the fields to promote dialogue and peaceful resolution of conflicts while carrying out public awareness campaign/sensitisation for peace and peaceful co-existence. The organisation operates in Kotido district and works together with all the peace actors involved in peace promotion in both Karamoja and the neighbouring districts. The main activities include peace sensitization, mobilization for peace and reconciliation, peace mediation and advocacy.
Other activities include emergency responses in times of disasters which call for immediate attention and advocacy.
Program Priorities: 
Short term priorities:
•To strengthen and build capacity of the Karacuna (Youth warriors), women, and the elderly in order to increase peace awareness and conflict management among them, including conflict and HIV/AIDS.
•Peace advocacy and conducting peace reconciliation meetings among the conflicting ethnic groups in Kotido district especially between the Jie and Dodoth, Jie and Bokora with regard to identified groups.
•Assist in the recovery of stolen cattle.
•Conduct research and evaluation on conflict situations in Kotido and to act as a resource centre for peace and conflict research.
•Strengthen and consolidate peace among the ethnic groups that have reconciled.
Long-term priorities:
•Strengthening and engendering the local social infrastructure and thereby contribute to the sustainable development in the district;
•Empower the communities to take advantage of various development opportunities;
•Post conflict reconstruction through psychological and emotional support to post conflict societies and restoration of civil society;
•Address needs arising from displacement of people.