Uganda NGO nominated for global award

Media Focus on Africa Uganda (MFA) has been nominated for a global award for its peace building project called Crossroads (Yat Madit).

MFA was founded on the premise that increased flows of quality information, reaching out to people living in Africa and build societies that are better informed on priority issues of democratization and human development.

It operates in Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Burundi, DRC and RC.

MFA is among ten finalists from ten different countries picked for the Intercultural Innovation Award (IIA) hosted by the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations (UNAOC) and BMW Group.

1,356 applications from 130 countries across five continents were received for the IIA which aims to contribute to peace, prosperity and building more inclusive societies, according to UNAOC and BMW Group.

The winning project will be announced during the Intercultural Innovation Award Ceremony to be held at United Nations Headquarters in New York on 29 November.

The Crossroads project included the production of the Yat Madit 13-episode radio and TV drama series and inter-cultural dialogues.

It aimed to promote intercultural dialogue and demonstrate alternative ways of dealing with conflicts, leading to more social cohesion and sustainable peace among communities in North and North Eastern Uganda.

The region is recovering from previous conflicts, most notably two decades of the Lord’s Resistance Army conflict.

“We are excited about this nomination that affirms how we uniquely used media and intercultural dialogues to promote peace in a region that is still on the road to recovery. We found that through the project, more communities and individuals appreciated the value of dialogue, working together above cultural or ethnic lines, to resolve issues in a peaceful way. The project also further confirms the importance of media as a significant intervention tool for peace building in Uganda," Media Focus on Africa, Uganda Head of Programmes Laurence Caron said.

The story is about a multi-cultural post-war community in a trading center called Yat Madit.

Some of the challenges they face include unemployment, land wrangles, war returnees, homeless former IDP camp residents, alcoholism, and domestic violence, child labour, some of which trigger tensions. However they must put aside individual, cultural differences and work together to move forward after a long war.

The series aired on NTV Uganda and 4 radio stations in Acholi, Lango, Teso and Karamoja between December 2016 and March 2017.

Alongside the broadcast intercultural dialogues among different ethnic communities were held when participants came together, watched the series, debated over issues in the plot and agreed on possible solutions.

Funded by the European Union, ICCO Cooperation, Doen Foundation Yat Madit excelled in the 2017 Uganda Film Festival as Best TV drama, while two cast members took Best actress TV drama, Best Actor TV drama awards for their role in Yat Madit.

“By supporting sustainable and innovative intercultural grassroots projects with the potential for expansion and replication, the Intercultural Innovation Award aims to contribute to peace, prosperity and building more inclusive societies. Launched in 2011, the Intercultural Innovation Award is the result of a unique public-private partnership between UNAOC and the BMW Group. This model of collaboration between the United Nations and the private sector creates deeper impact, as both partners provide their respective expertise to ensure the sustainable growth of each project," according to UNAOC and BMW Group.

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