From Program Coordinator to Loving Parent & Husband: A Personal Transformation with PVAC

In this program spotlight, we delve into the profound impact of the Preventing Violence against Children program, specifically focusing on the Lira PVAC Cluster, program coordinator, Denis Omunyokol as he shares his personal journey and insights about the positive transformations brought about by the program.

“In 2019, I embarked on a journey to implement the Prevention of Violence Against Children program in Lira, when Foundation for Integrated Rural Development (the organization I work for) joined CRVPF’s Lira PVAC cluster. Much of my work involved engaging with parents and caregivers, presenting and teaching violence prevention interventions like the “Parenting for Responsibility” manual. This manual zeroes in on improving parenting and spousal relations, recognizing their pivotal role in preventing violence against children and young people. However, it soon became apparent that advising on parenting and spousal relations without firsthand experience posed challenges, especially considering I wasn’t married or a parent.

My supervisors and the program participants often commented on my inexperience, asserting that practical experience was essential for effective teaching. Reflecting on their remarks, I acknowledged the truth in their words. This realization prompted me to reevaluate my personal life. At that time, I had a partner, and as I worked with parents and caregivers, implementing various program interventions, I recognized my desire to settle down, marry my partner, and start a family. Today, I am happily married with two wonderful children.

Engaging in meaningful conversations with parents, caregivers, and couples, while directly observing the positive impacts of PVAC interventions, combined with my consistent immersion in program materials, profoundly shaped my perspective. These experiences played a pivotal role in influencing my decision to embark on the journey of marriage and beginning a family.

The program also significantly influenced my parenting approach. I learned that parenting is a conscious choice. When teaching the “bonding and attachment” component of the “Parenting for Respectability” manual, it prompted me to reflect on my father’s parenting style, shaped by constant travel for work, creating a distance between us. This realization emphasized the importance of spending quality time with my children, even if it’s just a few minutes, with intentionality. Today I ensure that I spend as much time as I can with my children whenever I get the chance to, especially as I must travel for field work.

Another aspect of my work involves working with single parents, delving into the reasons behind their situation. The beauty of PVAC, is that it takes a community-focused approach which enables us to conduct household visits and community-level engagements, investigating the causes behind the couples’ separation. Through individual conversations and reflections, utilizing PVAC manuals, we guide couples, fostering reunification. Through this process, I have witnessed numerous broken couples, and their families unite and even become role models for those in similar situations who are not apart of the program. This has been particularly fulfilling.

A significant number of the reunited couples were initially not bound by legal marriage. Following their reconciliation, they have the opportunity to participate in the parenting groups’, Village Savings and Loan Associations (VSLA) facilitated by the program. Through this initiative, they collectively save enough to eventually commemorate their commitment with a formal wedding. It has been my privilege to attend 15 such weddings, witnessing couples who were once estranged coming together following their transformative journey through the PVAC program.

Reuniting broken families and seeing the positive impact of violence interventions beyond the parenting group brings me immense pride. Couples outside the program are learning from those within, creating a ripple effect of awareness and change. I am optimistic that this positive trend will continue, fostering stronger communities and healthier family dynamics.”

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