The Western Union Foundation Will Support WPDI Peacebuilding Program at Ugandan Refugee Camp

Press Release By Western Union Published OnJanuary 5, 2017

Kiryandongo, Uganda, January 05, 2017 – The Whitaker Peace & Development Initiative (WPDI) is proud to announce that the Western Union Foundation has pledged a three-year grant totaling USD$1,119,000 to support WPDI’s peacebuilding initiative at a refugee camp in Kiryandongo, Uganda. This funding will help provide access to life-skills and conflict-resolution education for 10,000 refugees at the camp, as part of a new program that will be unveiled over the coming months.

WPDI founder and CEO Forest Whitaker spoke excitedly about the collaboration with the Western Union Foundation. “After meeting Hikmet Ersek, CEO of Western Union at the United Nations World Humanitarian Summit this year, it became clear that joining forces with the Western Union Foundation was a natural fit and alignment with our passion and purpose for strengthening communities. Connecting to people, empowering them with the tools they need to succeed, and teaching them to give back to others is a very powerful thing.”

WPDI’s approach to training refugees focuses on peace education, life skills, vocational training, and entrepreneurship. The initiative to be launched at Kiryandongo will be based on the peacebuilding programs that WPDI has built in South Sudan, including at a camp for internally displaced persons in Juba, that nation’s capital. The UNHCR reports that approximately 70,000 refugees and asylum seekers from Kenya, Congo, Rwanda, Burundi and South Sudan—85% of whom are under 18—have sought safety in Kiryandongo. The goal of the program is to help provide hope and opportunity for some of the millions of displaced young people across the globe.

“The refugee crisis is global and support efforts must also be global,” said Elizabeth Roscoe, Executive Director of the Western Union Foundation. “The Whitaker Peace Development Initiative represents our first multi-year Education for Refugees partner. The program has proven successful in South Sudan and will serve as our model to scale in Uganda.”

This latest peacebuilding initiative in Kiryandongo is part of WPDI’s ongoing efforts to support the world’s growing population of individuals displaced due to violence. According to UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, wars, conflict and persecution have forced an unprecedented 65.3 million people to flee their homes. This staggering number represents approximately one out of every 113 people on Earth. Uganda in particular hosts the eighth-largest refugee population in the world, third-largest in Africa.

Western Union and the Western Union Foundation have a long history of supporting organizations and issues related to migration, refugees, and humanitarian crisis. Western Union is a founding member of the White House call-to-action for private sector engagement on the global refugee crisis.

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About the Whitaker Peace & Development Initiative

WPDI is a non-governmental organization with an international scope and reach, founded by Forest Whitaker in 2012. WPDI develops an array of peacebuilding programs, initiatives and campaigns to foster peace and reconciliation in disadvantaged and fragile communities in Africa, Latin America, and the United States. Our mission is to help societies impacted by destructive conflicts transform into safer and more-prosperous communities. Visit us online at and follow us on Twitter (@connectWPDI), Facebook, and Instagram (whitaker_peace).

About The Western Union Foundation

The Western Union Foundation is dedicated to creating a better world, where the ability to realize dreams through economic opportunity is not just a privilege for the few but a right for all. Through its signature program, Education for Better, and with the support of The Western Union Company, its employees, Agents, and business partners, The Western Union Foundation works to realize this vision by supporting education and disaster relief efforts as pathways toward a better future. Our combined social ventures efforts make life better for individuals, families and communities around the world. Since its inception, The Western Union Foundation has paid more than $106 million in grants and other giving. These funds have been pledged to more than 2,794 nongovernmental organizations in more than 137 countries and territories. The Western Union Foundation, is a separate §501(c)(3) recognized United States charity. To learn more, visit, or Follow us on Twitter @TheWUFoundation.

Source: Whitaker Peace & Development Initiative


The Western Union Company
Rachel Rogala, Global Corporate Communications
+1 (720) 332-2686