On Thursday 23 January 2014 CILC welcomed a delegation of three representatives from the Community Service department of the Ugandan Ministry of Internal Affairs for a benchmarking visit to the Netherlands. The visit was organised by the Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs and was designed so as to acquaint the Ugandan high officials with the Netherlands Judicial system. Their introduction to the Dutch judicial system was provided by the Ministry of Security and Justice, the Council of the Judiciary and the District Court of The Hague. The delegation also had the opportunity to discuss specific matters related to their work, learn new ideas and share best practices with the Dutch Custodial Institutions Agency (DJI) and the Dutch Probation Services.
Given CILC’s role and input in the justice sector in Uganda, it was very interesting for us to meet the delegation and explore possibilities for cooperation. This was an opportunity for CILC to learn about the challenges faced by the Ugandan community service department and particularly its Social Reintegration Unit, which became operational in 2012. Such challenges include capacity shortage and insufficient staff experience, which are to be expected in a young organisation. The varied academic backgrounds of staff combined with the lacking possibility for them to obtain specialised training for their new tasks from the Ugandan judicial training institutes bestows significant value to the task of developing a specific curriculum on probation services in Uganda.