Dr Eunice Apio Shortlisted for 2022 Women Building Peace Award
Congratulations to Dr Eunice Apio, long-time partner of CHIBOW, who was shortlisted for the prestigious 2022 WOMEN BUILDING PEACE award of the United States Institute of Peace.
International organizations and the U.S. government, in the past years, have increasingly recognized the importance of gender equality in creating sustainable peace. The United States Institute of Peace has long recognised the contribution of women to peacebuilding, and has long been engaged in supporting women peacebuilders in countries affected by conflict.
The Women Building Peace Award both reflects the Institute’s comprehensive commitment to gender and peacebuilding and celebrates the important role women play in peacebuilding efforts.
Below please find USIP’s summary of some of Eunice’s achievements.
Eunice Otuko Apio (Uganda)
Eunice Otuko Apio is the founder of Facilitation for Peace and Development (FAPAD), a grassroots peacebuilding NGO founded in 2004 in northern Uganda, where the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) launched its 35-year legacy of brutal terrorist attacks. Apio began her peacebuilding work during the peak of the LRA war in 2001, regularly travelling across a region riddled with land mines and LRA ambushes. Her initial efforts focused on mobilizing parents whose children had been abducted by the LRA, coordinating efforts to advocate for an end to the conflict, prevent abduction and the use of child soldiers, and secure the unconditional release of all children abducted by the LRA. As a schoolgirl, Apio had narrowly escaped LRA abduction.
Apio recognizes that local violence, particularly sexual violence against women, is an early warning sign of conflict and affects the broader context of peacebuilding. She has worked tirelessly to diminish the power of rape as a weapon of war by challenging the stigmatization of women survivors of sexual violence in conflict and their children. Apio has included survivors of sexual violence linked to cattle raiding conflicts in Uganda in major studies on resilience at the University of Birmingham, where she was a post-doctoral fellow, and she has accompanied these survivors as they become advocates in their own communities. Through Apio’s leadership, FAPAD has provided direct legal aid and psychosocial support to 16,835 disadvantaged persons and pursued over 15,000 cases regarding land rights for women and the marginalized, domestic violence, child abuse, and other human rights abuses across the Lango subregion of Uganda.
Apio’s advocacy on behalf of children born of war and their mothers in Uganda and elsewhere has inspired international and national action. Her testimony to the U.N. Security Council in 2015 on the plight of children born to young girls raped and forced into “marriage” with LRA soldiers paved the way for inclusion of the Children Born Of War (CBOW) research consortium in two Women, Peace and Security resolutions. Since then, Apio has found new ways to advocate for CBOW in other conflicts, including meeting with the Pope in Rome.
Apio has worked on a documentary film featuring the voices of survivors and wrote the 2018 novel “Zura Maids,” in which she reimagines the experiences of human trafficking survivors in an African context. The novel won the inaugural Ugandan Janzi Award for outstanding book in November 2021.