Meet Betty Bigombe.
Born into the Acholi tribe of Northern Uganda in 1957, Betty has spent the majority of her life fighting the injustices faced by the people of Uganda. Not only has she spent time in displacement camps talking to those who have been directly affected by Kony’s militia, she’s personally worked to build trust with Kony and arguably would’ve succeeded in bringing the rebels and government to peace 1990s, if not for last-minute interference by Ugandan president Yoweri Museveni.
After Museveni’s interference after the “Bigombe talks”, Bigombe moved to the United States and earned a Masters of Public Policy from the Harvard Institute for International Development (on top of her Bachelor’s degree from Makerere University in Uganda). She began working with the World Bank, first as a senior social scientist, then as a consultant to the World Bank’s Social Protection and Human Development department.
In 2004, after seeing the a news broadcast that displayed the devastation still happening in her homeland and being toted as the only person to come close to succeeding at bringing peace to Uganda, Bigombe left the United States and moved back to Uganda with hopes of once again making a difference.
Once in Uganda, Bigombe organized a series of peace talks between the rebel forces and the Ugandan government. Though she was backed by government support, she used much of her own money to facilitate the talks in hopes bringing peace to Uganda. Once the LRA started expanding into neighbouring countries, Bigombe invited them along to the talks as well. Peace was looking promising. After talks that Kony and other LRA commanders would be indicted by the International Criminal Court for their numerous crimes against humanity, Kony fought back and war broke out once again.
Bigombe has since moved back to the United States and works as a senior fellow for the U.S. Institute of Peace. She has founded two non-profit organizations since her return — one to raise awareness about the children of war, and another to fight corruption in world governments.
Women like Bigombe are who we should be listening to. Her and people like her should be at the forefront of this movement. We should raise up the decades of work she has already accomplished, rather than re-focus this fight on white North Americans and our desire to save the world.
(Information paraphrased and sourced from this article.)