HANDLE is a local grassroots NGO formed in 2009 to serve communities in Northern Uganda, with its headquarters in Gulu. From 1986 to 2008, Northern Uganda was engulfed in a brutal conflict between LRA and the Government of Uganda. Over 1.5 million people were displaced and placed in Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) camps across the sub-region. Youth, children and women suffered some of the most gruesome abuses during this time. While Uganda's North currently enjoys peace, women's and children's living conditions continue to be affected by the lack of interest shown by the government and other development agencies whose response to the needs of youth and women remained limited to advocacy, education an mobilization of resources. Concrete expenditures during the implementation of these initiatives does not reflect the magnitude of issues. As a result of a stakeholders' meeting to discuss the findings of a needs assessment to bring sustainable development that targets these vulnerable populations, HANDLE was born.
HANDLE believes that the psychosocial well-being of a war affected person is determined by the interplay between psychological and social factors; it consists of healthy emotional, cognitive, social and spiritual development. This includes social integration, a sense of economic and physical security and identity. It is crucial that people are professionally supported n overcoming the effects of armed conflict on their personal development.
HANDLE's purpose is to create spaces for women and youth in decision making and to include them in improving the living conditions of the entire community. We work to realize the Fulfillment of Children's and Women's Rights and, in particular, their rights to a Healthy Psychosocial Development .
HANDLE has six major intervention areas:
• Education (vocational training and sponsorship)
• Peace Building and Conflict Mitigation
• Women's Economic Empowerment through VSLA
• Human Rights Advocacy
. Internship Centre for National and International students.
More recently, we have successfully included programs focusing on activities such as informal education, sustainable livelihoods, peace building, and health. Our organization targets vulnerable populations that cuts across rural and urban divides, including: widows, single mothers, formally abducted children, child-headed households, landmine survivors, persons with disabilities or illness, and orphans.
To realize our mandate, we implement, either directly or together with our partners, programs that protect and empower children and vulnerable people. Creative community based interventions and conflict transformation programs have become our core business over the years.
Today, HANDLE operates in all districts in Uganda. We aim to empower vulnerable communities through livelihoods activities and advocacy campaigns for the rights of women, girls and other vulnerable individuals in the community. HANDLE programs provide women's economic empowerment, livelihoods enhancement, education, health care, trauma counselling, micro-credit, community development services, peace building, research/internship opportunities, and advocacy efforts which cut across all our activities. We strive to nurture relationships with our target communities rooted in mutual respect and a compassionate exchange of ideas, knowledge and values.