EU-IOM project launches 'Beera Clear' campaign against violence


September 18, 2018

 

Kampala –  IOM, the UN Migration Agency has launched a major messaging campaign focused on preventing violent extremism in the Ugandan capital Kampala, with officials urging young people to pursue their dreams with patience, determination and peace.

The “Beera Clear” campaign has been organized by the Strengthening Social Cohesion and Stability in Slum Populations (SSCoS) project, which is funded by the European Union.

Speaking at the launch in Kampala, Ali Abdi, IOM Uganda Chief of Mission, explained why the project was putting emphasis on expanding opportunities for young people in the city’s informal settlements. He suggested that youth were more vulnerable to being radicalized if they were marginalized and desperate.

“We believe, and the donor believes, that if young people have [such] support, if more and more young people have something to lose, they will not risk it. They will not get involved in radicalization and other forms of communal violence,” he said.

Thomas Tiedemann, the European Union Delegation’s Head of Governance and Human Rights, said that besides providing young men and women with skills and support to start their businesses, the project was empowering them to take charge of their futures. He added that radicalization and extremism happen in our midst, but we cannot recognize or detect them; hence, the campaign.

“Through our messaging we call upon [young people] to make the right choices and to stand against all types of violence,” Tiedemann said. “We wish to contribute to raising awareness about different types of violence, how they happen and how we can detect them, so as to empower the community at large, to prevent violence and to intervene to counter violence.”

Funded at EUR 4.3 million over three and a half years, the SSCoS project started in August 2016 and aims to address the root causes of radicalization. It is implemented by IOM and its partners in the Kampala areas of Bwaise, Kisenyi, Kabalagala and Katwe. It combines socio-economic support to slum youth with logistical facilitation and capacity building of key state agencies such as the Police.

The “Beera Clear” (loosely translated to mean ‘Be Clear’ or ‘Be law-abiding’) campaign urges slum dwellers to “Stand against violence.” This messaging is backed by baseline findings that marginalized, poor young people were more vulnerable to being radicalized.

Assistant Inspector General of Police Asan Kasingye, who represented the state minister for internal affairs, also urged young people to refrain from violence. But he pledged that the Police would strive to observe human rights of young people, while sensitizing them to stay away from violence.

“I want to [ask], on behalf of the Uganda Police, […] can we be clear about protection of young people, especially their human rights?” Kasingye said, attracting applause from the crowd during the launch event.

As part of the messaging campaign, the SSCoS project is running infomercials on radio and television, and has organized a youth theatre festival, as well as various outreach events in the project areas, promoting both peaceful ambition and ambitious peace.

For more information please contact Richard M Kavuma at IOM Uganda, Tel: +256 312 263 210, Email: rmkavuma@iom.int