The motivation behind the founding of CERESAV was to promote an Asset Based Community Driven Approach to change the face of acid attack violence in Uganda.

The philosophy behind CERESAV: (
Promote a survivor led model instead of a representative model.
Make survivors take the lead in the campaign against acid attack violence in Uganda.

Create support groups and mentor survivors to become ambassadors in their communities to eliminate stigma, discrimination and the associated stereotypes.
Promote a facilitator leadership model to mentor survivors in our pioneer support groups to take the lead in the campaign against acid attack violence in Uganda.
What steps did we take:

We spearheaded the first ever survivor-led organization, where survivors were put at the forefront to advocate for zero tolerance to acid attack violence. We pioneered the formation of survivor support groups to promote psychosocial support, survivor empowerment and community reintegration of survivors as proactive independent citizens.

We pioneered the first ever skills development training to promote economic sustainability, made links and connections to support the sustainability of survivors through promotion, marketing and participating in exhibitions.

We championed a survivor-led model and worked to bring different actors like CERESAV-USA, (now RISEcoalition) on board to work in the area of addressing acid attack violence in Uganda. This was done through lobbying, awareness visits and presentations which attracted especially the founders of RISE to engage in supporting acid attack violence survivors, not just in Uganda but globally.

Achievements made:

We developed a lobbying strategy through awareness initiatives using media, workshops and conferences, public lectures and presentations to attract different actors to strengthen the voices against acid attack violence both nationally and internationally.

We have promoted global recognition from UK to Canada to USA and worldwide.

We are proud to say that our survivor empowerment approach has led to the formation of survivor ambassadors who are now forming different groups in Uganda, increasing awareness of the problem and changing the face of acid attack violence in Uganda.

We started the first ever survivor-led evidenced-based petition to the president of Uganda and the parliament, which resulted in the passing of the Toxic Chemical Prohibition Bill into law ( Still a lot needs to be done, thanks to the emerging groups by our past support group ambassadors who are raising more voices, and increasing pressure where it will be effective.

We have set the ground standards for accountability and transparency, so that all work done in this area is evidence-based. We have mentored our past support group ambassadors who are doing the same in the field.

We championed the Asset-Based Community Driven (ABCD) model upon which all other emerging groups spearheaded by our ambassadors in the field are operating. This has strengthened the empowerment of survivors to live more proactive independent lives.

We spearheaded a lobbying and referral model where other service providers opened a platform to facilitate community reintegration of acid attack violence survivors. These included referrals to:
-Educational support resources
-Micro-loan support resources
-Market resources


At the beginning of the year 2018, we want to take a moment and thank our support networks for all the time and effort you invest in supporting the CERESAV team, Truly your support and kind words are what keep our team progressing so we would like to share what we have been able to accomplish last year, after all our accomplishments are your accomplishments as well, therefore we wouldn’t have done it without you.THANK YOU SO MUCH.

Breaking it down.
This year we have supported ten acid survivors and victims at Mulago hospitals’ Burns ward, among which, one called Sumaiya Namwanje, died leaving the 2 months baby behind, who is currently under the care of CERESAV team and three were discharged ,while six are still admitted at Mulago referral Hospital.However, we are in need of more nutritional support and medical supplies like Bandages,vaseline gauze,feeding tubes for our patients admitted at the Hospital.

After the successful petition on that was followed by the passing of the Toxic chemicals prohibition and control law, Ceresav is now embarking on a national advocacy and sensitization campaign to promote awareness of Acid Attack Violence in Uganda and to push for a separate Acid attack Violence Control Bill.

Please join us in spreading the awareness until we attract the attention of our government to take Action.
Together we can end Violence.
Together we can Stop Acid Attack Violence in Uganda!

Different ways you can get involved

Like and share the awareness video

Host a sensitization workshop

Sponsor a Radio and TV spot on Acid violence awareness and sensitization

Sponsor a feature Talkshow on Radio and Television stations

Sponsor the National sensitization campaigns:

  1. $10,000 sponsors production and distribution of ICT materials in the different languages.
  2. $1,000 sponsors a sensitization workshop in different strategic institutions including Academic.
  3. $600 sponsors a one-minute sensitization TV spot.
  4. $500 sponsors a community Dialogue with elders and community leaders.
  5. $500 sponsors a Lobbying meeting with strategic stakeholders.


While CERESAV continues to advocate for legislative policy change to address the problem of acid attack violence in Uganda, attacks continue to be reported. Currently, CERESAV is working with 3 acid attack patients in the hospital. Specifically, one Sumaiya Namwaje was attacked at the time she was 7 months pregnant. She delivered her baby on the morning of April 10, 2017, in the midst of excruciating pain. Joined efforts are still needed to address this problem. Please stand with CERESAV.[paypal_donation_button]

Hello to our supporters,

Look what your support has helped us achieve!  This month, CERESAV hired its first Executive Director, Justine Mpagi, who brings many years of experience in human rights advocacy. We are so excited to have her on our team!  In addition, we have moved into a new office in Uganda along Entebbe Road in Kampala.   But the BIGGEST NEWS: Our partner organization, CERESAV USA, is now officially recognized as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit in the US!

Meet Justine Mpagi!

We’ve made good progress and are SO grateful to all of you who have helped along the way.  Still, we need your support in continuing to grow our organization’s capacity.  (Really, we’re a small team of mostly volunteers whose passion for this cause has helped us get this far but we need your support to fully provide the services needed in Uganda.)  Here’s how you can help:

[button class=”” link=”” bgcolor=”#9c33ff” textcolor=”#ffffff” bordercolor=”” target=”_self”]Donate[/button]

    • Make a monetary donation:
      • $10 will provide much needed nutritional supplements to acid attack victims in the hospital’s burns unit.
      • $50 will help us raise awareness in the Ugandan media about the separate acid bill we are drafting.
      • $100 will provide a month’s supply of meals, nutritional supplements, and medical supplies to acid attack victims in the hospital’s burns unit.
    • Help us network! Know an organization in Kampala who could donate food or nutritional supplements?  Know Ugandan attorneys who would provide pro bono services to survivors?  Email us at
    • Sign up for our interfaith prayer team and newsletter.
    • Follow us and share our posts on social media.  The more voices we have calling attention to acid violence, the bigger the impact we can have!

      Visit Us

Thanks as always for your support!

Hanifa Nakiryowa
CERESAV Founder & President

Justine holds a BA in Social Works and Social Administration from Makerere University and was the Regional Project Coordinator at National Community of Women Living with HIV/AIDS in Uganda (NACWOLA). Join us in welcoming Justine to the team!

As Executive Director, Justine will manage CERESAV’s main service departments, including advocacy, legal services, health services, and adult education. Based in Kampala, she will also work closely with CERESAV USA, a nonprofit established in Cincinnati, Ohio that provides financial, training, and other support to CERESAV. Justine will represent the organization to regulatory bodies, other agencies, community and civic organizations, donors, funders and supporters, and the general public. She will also manage and direct CERESAV staff and volunteers, including conducting performance appraisals and implementing corrective action as needed.


This is a great opportunity to contribute to a 501c3 nonprofit devoted to ending human rights violations internationally. You will report directly to the CERESAV USA Board as you help ensure our continued growth and success.  Key responsibilities include:

  • Research and identify organizations whose goals mirror our own.
  • Create foundation profiles, including prior donations, board members, goals, employees and other information.
  • Help our staff organize and prioritize grant data.
  • Check in with our grant-writing team once a week to report and update on progress.

Previous grant-writing experienced preferred but not required.  This is a three month position requiring 15-30 hours per month.  To apply, please send your resume and a cover letter regarding your interest in the position to by July 10.

KAMPALA, Uganda—More than half her body is completely shriveled, but 33-year-old Gloria Kankunda is adamant about one thing. “I’ll make these scars stars,” Kankunda, who has a glowing smile to match her personality, told Take Part. She is one of the hundreds of women who have been left physically, psychologically, and socially scarred by an acid attack in the East African country in the past few decades.

Today, she is working to prevent further attacks as the managing director of Uganda’s Center for Rehabilitation of Survivors of Acid and Burns Violence, which she cofounded in 2012 to offer legal advice and health services to survivors. Late last year, the nongovernmental organization also succeeded in pushing through a bill that places restrictions on access to the chemicals and imposes a life sentence for someone convicted of perpetrating an acid attack. It was signed into law in December.

In Uganda, concentrated sulfuric acid, which can be obtained for less than a dollar at gas stations and street vendors, is a “weapon,” as Kankunda describes it, commonly used in premeditated attacks involving domestic disputes and land wrangles.

There were eight reported cases and two deaths from acid violence last year in the country, according to Acid Survivors’ Foundation Uganda, an NGO established in 2003 to prevent such assaults, although accurate statistics are hard to obtain and the real figures may be higher. There are at least 1,500 attacks each year worldwide, mainly in Southeast Asia, sub-Saharan Africa, the West Indies, and the Middle East, according to Acid Survivors Trust International, a charity partnering with organizations in Bangladesh, Cambodia, Pakistan, Nepal, India, and Uganda.

It was a “normal” night in 2009, Kankunda told TakePart. She had driven to her Kampala home with a friend after visiting family. “I was young, having a child and expecting another. Life was so good,” she said. But before Kankunda could get into her home safely, a stranger opened her car door and wrestled her out of the vehicle. “It’s unexplainable, like I was melting away,” she said, recalling how she felt. It wasn’t until Kankunda reached a hospital that a nurse told her acid had been used. She was left with burns on 70 percent of her body and blinded in one eye.
“I’d just read of one attack, but I had not seen a victim,” she said.

After a week in a Ugandan hospital, Kankunda was flown to South Africa, where she would spend two years recovering, leaving behind her family. After 20 skin-graft reconstructions, the survivor stopped counting the number of operations she’d had. In South Africa, Kankunda gave birth to a baby girl, but the delivery wasn’t without complications, and the pair nearly died. She also learned there that the man who attacked her had been hired by her husband’s “co-wife.” This did not surprise Kankunda, who says polygamy is “part of African culture.” “But I cannot imagine doing such a thing to anybody,” she said of her assault.

Because the main witness was unable to testify in a Ugandan court, the perpetrators were freed after just some months in jail. “I feel let down by the government,” said Kankunda.

She had always been “confident in my looks,” but when she returned to Uganda, the “reality of how I looked started to set in,” especially when out shopping or at church.

In 2012, she saw a TV report about another woman who was attacked by acid. Hanifa Nakiryowa had been left with facial scars and blinded in one eye after her ex-husband hired someone to attack the mother of two when she fled the abusive marriage. Kankunda tracked her down at the hospital. “I went looking for her. When I found her, she told me there were so many other victims. I was like, ‘Hanifa, let’s go and check on them,’ ” said Kankunda. The two set up the Center for Rehabilitation of Survivors of Acid and Burns Violence in Kankunda’s garage. Last year, an affiliate organization was established in the United States.

After the center’s petition garnered nearly 300,000 supporters, a bill restricting the use of chemicals for medical research, pharmaceutical, and other related purposes—and imposing life imprisonment for convictions—was signed into law by Uganda’s president in December.

The center, which is currently assisting about 25 women, has welcomed the law but is pushing for the act to be amended to specifically mention acid attacks and include provisions so that legal cases won’t be dismissed while witnesses recover. It also wants perpetrators to foot victims’ medical bills.

Linneti Kirungi. (Photo: Amy Fallon)
Linneti Kirungi, 24, endured burns to over a third of her body, with her ear severely damaged, after her boyfriend plotted an acid attack in 2012 when she refused to marry him. Kirungi, who is the center’s office administrator, said she had “gained courage” from Kankunda. “I was leaving my scars hidden, but now, when people ask what happened, I tell them,” she said.

Source: Meet the Inspiring Acid Attack Survivors Who Are Pushing to Change Uganda’s Laws | TakePart