Welcome to the National Memory and Peace Documentation Centre (NMPDC), a collaborative initiative of the Refugee Law Project, Faculty of Law Makerere University and the Kitgum District Local Government.
The NMPDC is located in Kitgum district town council in Northern Uganda an area ravaged by over two decades of armed conflict and is struggling to recover in the post-conflict era.
As a country emerging from conflict, Uganda remains highly divided, with a weak sense of national identity, low societal solidarity amongst constituencies, a lack of information and transparency about historical events and little or no accountability for past wrong doing and acknowledgement for suffering. Uganda has a fragile democracy where unaddressed divisions and grievances can easily ignite new conflict. These deficiencies pose significant obstructions to national reconciliation, transitional justice and rule of law in the country; this is what the NMPDC aims to primarily address.
The NMPDC uses the concept of freedom of access to information as a tool to facilitate dialogue and coexistence among communities, support national reconciliation through the preservation and dissemination of national records and memory, and benefit posterity through history education.
With initial funding from the United States Agency for Development (USAID) and support from the Northern Uganda Transitional Initiative (NUTI), the NMPDC was created from transforming a building that had been built by the U.S.A military into a multifunctional state-of-the-art facility. The space now serves multiple purposes; it is a memorial to the victims and survivors of Uganda's civil conflicts, a space to revive, promote and celebrate Uganda's art and cultural heritage, and a research and educational facility.
The facility welcomes and encourages visitors from all over the world. Each visitor local or international is encouraged to approach, frame and interpreted the experiences from his or her unique viewpoint.
- Community Outreach - Through continuous engagement with the communities the NMPDC endeavours to sensitize the public by engaging with the community through various programs and initiatives including public film screenings, debates and public lecture, mobile exhibitions of the museum, accountability and court monitoring and schools outreach. Furthermore NMPDC harbours a museum-like memorial with a collection of artefacts, an Internet access facility and conference space. The building is also very accessible to individuals with disabilities. These activities are geared to promote community involvement in the centre's work and instil a sense of ownership in the public of the facility.
- Memory and Commemoration - The museum-like memorial provides both an emotionally compelling presentation of information and a space where people can commemorate the past, share memories and increase their understanding of legacies of conflicts in Uganda. It is meant to facilitate the healing process at both individual and communal levels. Although still under construction, physically, the museum-like memorial is in form of a circular path connects to the archives and various outdoor spaces such as the open-air theatre. The museum pathway's exhibitions are organized around the themes of peace, justice, cultural pride, history and remembrance. The path allows visitors to move freely throughout the exhibition, thereby emphasizing and reinvigorating the principles of transparency and freedom of movement, conscience, thought and communication.
- Research, Documentation and Archiving - The NMPDC conducts action-oriented research in the areas of transitional justice, specifically focusing on history, education, memory and remembrance. Through on-going consultations with local communities the NMPDC identifies various research and documentation areas. Cumulatively, the centre's work provides evidence for policy-making, enriches database that is available to the public. The NMPDC seeks to promote and implement the right to access to information in Uganda.
- NMPDC Database - the repository of documents provides an expansive resource for those seeking an in-depth understanding of civil conflicts in Uganda; it includes library books and document collection, multimedia materials in form of audio and audio-visual files such as documentaries, features and interviews; photographic collections, newspaper Archives and Oral Testimonies, Interviews and Biographies Transcripts