Interview with Obed Kabanda, Founder and CEO, Action for Community Development (ACODEV)
ACODEV Uganda’s Child Protection Model (pioneered by CEO Obed Kabanda) in action
Is it possible to encourage peace in Africa?
Yes, it is very possible once there is commitment by different stakeholders to make this happen.
Investing in Africans as social actors and agents of peace through improving their capacities and also strengthening their leadership and governance systems is key in making the possibility of achieving peace possible.
And it is important to note the extent to which Africans have been less involved in decisions pertaining to their continent, Africa.
Africa has many good grassroots leaders who can be agents of peace if the peace process is not interrupted by unnecessary conditionalities and influences characterized by a lack of or a limited involvement in decision making and priority setting.
The traditional justice mechanisms indigenous to many parts of Africa are some of the key peace processes.
ACODEV trainees and community development action participants in Uganda
What are you doing to encourage peace in Africa?
I have invested a lot of self-sacrifice, time and other resources in building an exemplary indigenous community development organization called Action for Community Development (ACODEV) to use as an agent of Peace and Development which is currently supporting, mentoring and coaching an additional 16 grass root community based organizations.
These community based organizations will become agents of peace and development through peacefully advocating for Health, Social, Economic and Cultural rights of citizens of Uganda but also now expanding to East and Southern Africa.
Making the people believe in their abilities and capabilities has been instrumental in this approach.
I also plan to establish an Africa Centre for Leadership Development that I believe will tremendously contribute to the process of producing leaders with integrity and zeal for peace and development in the entire region.
This same organization is now spreading its approach to the Southern and Eastern part of Africa in the countries of Malawi, DRC Congo, Tanzania and Burundi, in addition to others.
I am also a part time Lecturer at Uganda Christian University in Mukono, specifically teaching the post graduate classes (both National and International classes) in Leadership and Governance for effective service delivery.
Here, I believe I am contributing tremendously to producing upright professionals who are becoming instrumental agents of peace and development in Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda, DRC and South Sudan (countries from which post graduate students emanate) and therefore contributing to Peace in Africa.
I intend to even start constructing soon, a center that will provide avenues for grooming leaders of integrity who appreciate systems and processes required for peace and development in Africa.
ACODEV trainee participants from Tukole Women’s Group in Kasese District, Uganda
What can others do to encourage peace in Africa?
Others can support the ongoing processes through, for example, joining the various peace advocacy groups, groups that advocate for health, social, economic and cultural rights, without which conflicts emanate that can easily disrupt any peace building processes.
Others can also support the peace building avenues such as the Africa Center for Leadership and Development that I established.
Obed Kabanda is a professional Public Health Leader with over 16 years of experience in Organizational Management and Leadership.
Obed is a founder and CEO of Action for Community Development – ACODEV.
ACODEV works in Uganda and Rwanda and is expanding to Malawi, Tanzania and Eastern DRC. Obed envisions a society where children, women and men are healthy and economically productive. He has led ACODEV from a small CBO in 2003 to be a regional NGO now reaching millions of children, youth, women and men and attracting high level resources including from USAID as a result of institutional systems building and collaboration with others.
His work has been awarded.
He recently won the 2015 Angle for Africa Award in the US for support capacity building and mentorship and advising other organizations on the continent. He has won the 2015 Codes Fellowship to be hosted in Mexico, and in 2013 Obed was recognized as the Change Project of the year for Safe Motherhood in Uganda by Save The Mothers International.
Obed holds an MSci. Public Health Leadership and a Bachelors Degree in Community Development and Leadership; a PG Diploma in Leadership Development for Health of the University of North Carolina; and Governance for Health and development of the University of London (SOAS) and trained at University Los Angeles in Management for Organizations through the Nairobi East Africa program.
He is a qualified M&E CDC Fellow-Makerere University and has since qualified in other human rights and development related courses. Obed is a member to various international professional organizations. among them LEADNET, Transformational Leaders Forum, Global Public Health Group, Sustainable Development Africa Group and M & E Professional group.
He has served as a board of director for various highly respected National and International CSOs namely; Board Chair White Ribbon Alliance for Safe-motherhood Uganda Chapter (Washington based CSO), Advisory Council member for One World Children’s Fund, Uganda Network of AIDS Service Organizations, and serving as one of the Uganda Advisors for Global Health Corps – East Africa.
Obed sits on various national ministry Technical Working Groups namely:
The Reproductive Health Working Group, Health & Rights Working Group all in the Ministry of health (MOH) in Uganda; The National Child Protection Working Group in the Ministry of Gender, Labor and Social Development (MoGLSD) and in May 2015 Obed was appointed to the National Advisory Committee for International Child Rights Convention (CRC) reporting in Uganda.
Obed has led leadership and capacity strengthening teams at institutional and consultancy level nationally and internationally the most recent ones being in; Uganda, Rwanda, Tanzania and Kenya.
He has used his expansive knowledge, skill sets and competencies in Leadership and governance for systems strengthening, public health programming and management, and Human Rights Based Approach to Development to support various organizations in Uganda and beyond. This includes a recent provision of technical assistance to a USAID funded program – Strides for Family Health in Leadership Development Program (LDP) for Health in 9 districts that has seen tremendous improvement in health indicators as a result of strengthened leadership and governance systems that support service delivery.
Obed has been a coach and mentor to approximately 40 staff currently and approximately 30 development partners in leadership and organization development. Some of the partners he has supported include:
Norwegian People’s AID in Rwanda, UNICEF, White Ribbon Alliance for Safe Motherhood, BESO-Foundation, Set Her Free, Reach A Hand Uganda (RAHU), Komo Learning Centres, Naama Wellness Centre-NAWEC, Adonai Family Foundation and others.
He led a 7-member Virtual Leadership Development Program (VLDP) team at ACODEV that won a golden medal award after undergoing MEASURE Evaluation, MSH-US VLDP Diploma training.
Obed uses his weekends to advance Uganda’s education as an appointed part time lecturer in a Master of Public Health Leadership – Save the Mothers Program under Health Sciences Department at the Uganda Christian University. He has recently worked with others at ACODEV to establish an Africa Centre for Leadership Development (ACLED) that will be a one stop center for Leadership and Governance training in East and Southern Africa running short tailor made and fellowship Leadership and Governance for Development courses.