Media for Social Change

The Internet, social media, mobile phones, and other technologies have greatly expanded our ability to share information and communicate across borders. Yet in this increasingly connected world, the stories of forced migrants are still missing and their voices remain unheard. 

The Media for Social Change Programme strives to amplify the voices of forced migrants by including them in conversations and debates on issues affecting their lives, and by empowering them to become effective advocates for their own rights and wellbeing. 

The Media for Social Change Programme engages in the following activities: 

  • Producing videos/documentaries pertinent to forced migrants’ issues
  • Building the capacity of forced migrants to use information and media technologies 
  • Hosting community screenings of films and documentaries
  • Developing media campaigns and publishing articles written by RLP staff
  • Performing outreach and advocacy via the RLP website and social media (Facebook, Twitter, YouTube) 

We also create communication strategies for all of RLP’s programmes so that the organization is able to reach a wider audience. In doing so, we contribute to the global discourse on how media can be used to influence social and policy change.


Operations and Programme Support is a support programme of the Refugee Law Project that all the other programmes ride on. It provides technical, financial, monitoring and practical support functions that enables the other four thematic programmes operate. Below are the distinctive units within the programme.

Victims and survivors of war have suffered terrible atrocities in their countries of origin. Having survived torture, sexual violence, the murder of family members, forced migrants often suffer from grief, depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress, and other mental illnesses. The process of fleeing and searching for asylum usually adds to the anguish and trauma forced migrants endure. Once in Uganda, they do not have access to resources and social support networks, which further exposes them to abuse, exploitation and disease. 

The Mental Health and Psychosocial Wellbeing Programme provides forced migrants with the psychosocial and mental health assistance they need to cope with the trauma of the past and meet the demands of life in Uganda.

  • The Mental Health and Psychosocial Wellbeing Programme engages in the following activities: 
  • Individual, family and group counselling 
  • Home visits and follow-up assessments to identify needs and conduct needed interventions
  • Outreach to host communities, schools, prisons and other institutions that interface with forced migrants
  • Capacity building and psychosocial trainings for clients and institutions that provide services to forced migrants 
  • Research and advocacy on emerging psychosocial and mental health issues 

With all of these activities, we attempt to harness the power and individual capacity of each forced migrant in order to empower him/her to be actively involved in his/her healing journey. We also encourage people who have undergone similar experiences to support and empower each other as they heal and adapt to new environments.  The programme works closely with RLP’s Refugee Support Groups and partners with other organizations in the mental health field in Uganda. 

By providing lifesaving mental health assistance to RLP’s clients, we expand the capacity of the entire organization to support the healing and recovery of forced migrants.


Too many people worldwide are unable to enjoy their sexual and gender rights due to social, cultural, political and legal obstacles. This is even more true for individuals fleeing armed conflict or searching for safe refuge in a foreign country. 

The Gender & Sexuality Programme works to ensure that all people can access and enjoy their sexual and gender being and rights, and to raise global awareness of the close relationship between violations of sexuality and gender, and patterns of forced migration.

The Gender & Sexuality Programme engages in the following activities: 

  • Provision of direct legal and psychosocial support to RLP clients (whether refugees, IDPs, deportees, victims and perpetrators) who are experiencing problems as a result of sexual and gender-based violence, or as a result of their sexual orientation or gender identity
  • Documentation of the causes, immediate impact, and long-term consequences of sexual and gender-based violenceResearch of gender and sexuality dynamics at grass-roots level 
  • Analysis of how the legacies of conflict-related sexual violence inform transitional justice efforts
  • Policy advocacy at local, national, and international levels that is informed by lessons learned from RLP’s research and direct service work 
  • Training of forced migrants, police, immigration, military, civil society, humanitarian workers

The work of the Gender & Sexuality Programme influences the research agenda of the Conflict, Transitional Justice & Governance Programme by, for example, focusing on issues around gender identities (particularly masculinities) in post-conflict recovery periods. We work with the Access to Justice Programme to advocate for the legal reforms needed to ensure that all survivors of sexual violence, as well as sexual and gender minorities, are able to pursue justice through formal mechanisms. We collaborate with our colleagues in Mental Health & Psychosocial Wellbeing Programme to develop best practice in responding to situations of harm and exclusion arising from sexual violence and/or discrimination.

Majority of forced migrants live far from justice institutions and legal aid providers. They do not have the legal knowledge and financial capacity to effectively present their cases and demand their rights. Many are traumatized, disoriented, physically and emotionally vulnerable. 

The Access to Justice Programme seeks to bring legal aid services closer to forced migrants, to empower forced migrants to advocate for their rights, to strengthen the capacity of justice institutions to deliver justice, and to improve the legal and policy environment for forced migrants in Uganda. 

The Access to Justice Programme engages in the following activities:

  • Legal representation: The Programme provides free legal assistance to forced migrants on a number of different issues -- criminal justice, employment and work environment, child rights and protection, refugee status determination, land rights, family rights, tenant rights, and deportation. We identify migrants in police stations and other detention facilities and represent them before courts of law. 
  • Capacity building for policy makers: The Programme conducts trainings to equip policymakers, service providers, magistrates, police officers, prison officials and local government authorities with knowledge of Uganda’s laws and international laws and policies relating to forced migration. 
  • Human rights awareness and community empowerment: The Programme empowers communities by providing information sessions, community policing sessions, English for Adult classes, RESPECT University courses, and information materials. We also train community interpreters and assist in the formation of support groups so that forced migrants can advocate for their rights.
  • Research and advocacy: The Programme conducts studies on access to justice and uses findings to seek solutions by engaging with decision-makers in the police, directorate of public prosecutions, prisons, the judiciary, UNHCR, and Office of the Prime Minister (OPM).

Refugee Law Project has field offices in the western districts of Mbarara and Hoima, which provide legal assistance to forced migrants in the refugee settlements of Nakivale, Oruchinga, Kyaka II, Kyangwali and Kiryandogo.

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A collaborative initiative of the RLP and the Kitgum District Local Government. The NMPDC is located in Kitgum district town council - Northern Uganda an area ravaged by over two decades of armed conflict and is struggling to recover in the post-conflict era...
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