Victor Ochen

Executive Director, African Youth Initiative Network-Uganda

Mr. Victor Ochen is the Founder and Executive Director for African Youth Initiative Network (AYINET). Born in northern Uganda, he spent 21yrs of his childhood as a refugee in the camps, where he survived on one meal-a-day for over 7 years. He grew up amidst violent conflict that displaced over 3 million people, where 60,000+ children were abducted and forcefully recruited as child-soldiers, including his own brother. His organisation has so far provided reconstructive medical repair to over 21,000 war victims of rape, mutilation, gun shots).

Challenged by the hardships of war and poverty, while living in the camps at the age of 13 years, Ochen formed a Peace Club and bravely led the anti-child soldiers’ recruitment campaign amidst the war in northern Uganda. He grew up to become one of the most important figures in Africa, a key reference when it comes to struggle for human rights and justice, a product of resilience, a personification of struggle. He is a lead example on tolerance and nonviolence activism; who is creatively working to address the root cause of conflict in Africa.

Forbes Magazines named Ochen in 2015 as one of the 10 most powerful men in Africa, while Archbishop Desmond Tutu attested that “my heart swells with joy to see Ochen as one of the new hope for Africa”. He is the first Uganda and the youngest ever African nominated for Nobel Peace Prize 2015. Ochen is the YGL and has received several awards including Elyse Treaty in 2016; Pan-Commonwealth Youth Workers 2015, Mundo Negro Award 2016; all recognizing his service to poor people and his inspirational leadership for peace in Africa. He is the UN Goodwill Ambassador for Peace and Justice promoting SDG Goal16. Mr. Ochen is a member of the Global Advisory Group to the UNHCR on Gender, Forced Displacement and Protection.

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