Trans-Border Dialogue for Peace in the Great Lakes Region
Jointly with the Swedish Embassy, Switzerland supports a trans-border dialogue for peace in the Great Lakes region, a program run by Interpeace with 6 local NGOs. This second phase will continue using research and dialogue to address stereotypes and lack of trust behind recurrent conflicts in the Great Lakes region. Research and dialogue constitute the basis to engage decision makers, to promote good governance and concrete consensus-based solutions taking into account local populations’ concerns and recommendations.
The Great Lakes Region
Conflict & fragility
Conflict prevention and transformation
Democratic participation and civil society
Security system management and reform
- Community members including women and youth, use dialogue to identify their capacities, gaps for peace, reconciliation and development within and across borders, deconstruct negative stereotypes and develop positive relations.
- Community members collaborate with CSOs and decision makers to jointly develop and implement solutions to address local and cross-border priorities for peace reconciliation and development and take independent initiative to build resilience.
- Decision-makers work in partnership with citizens and CSOs to understand the needs, priorities and capacities of the population and develop solutions that address them.
- Regional Organisations (CIRGL, CEPGL) use consultative approaches to develop and champion conflict-sensitive policies, programs and initiatives that strengthen regional cooperation for peace, reconciliation and development, especially in terms of youth initiatives and peace education.
- Trauma/PTSD is reduced among special groups in DRC.
- Program orientations are developed through a participatory action research involving 5000 persons and decision makers, to promote and strengthen resilience capacities for peace, reconciliation and development.
- 300 people engage in permanent dialogue processes and address collectively peacebuilding challenges (42% women, 30% youth),
- At least 80 independent concrete initiatives are launched to foster social cohesion in communities
- At least, 18 decision makers proactively use dialogue spaces to engage community members and carry out more participatory and inclusive governance,
- A trauma healing pilot creates conducive conditions for constructive dialogue and cooperation in areas with a high level of unaddressed trauma.
- Negative stereotypes were deconstructed, trustful and positive relations built up. Those who were initially reluctant to meet neighbours in permanent dialogue spaces have become the strongest advocates for a joint implementation of recommendations and concrete initiatives.
- 12’000 persons were reached by the program, through dialogue or advocacy.
- Communities in DRC requested the program to intervene and help them create dialogue platforms, which in turn helped reduce the level of violence.
- A participatory research on land and identity manipulation created space for engaging communities and authorities on stereotypes and identity-based manipulations. Ethnic issues could be discussed in the three countries, helping to deconstruct stereotypes.
- Numerous concrete examples of trans-border and interethnic cooperation and understanding were documented.
- Concrete initiatives coming from dialogue platforms were implemented, such as the opening of customs 24h a day, elimination of restriction on import of milk from DRC, resolution of conflicts between communities, etc…
- Other Swiss Non-profit Organisation
- Foreign private sector North
The Great Lakes region has been trapped for decades in cycles of conflict. The current context is marked by electoral tensions and violence in Burundi and DRC. The combination of national developments, especially in Burundi, and regional geopolitical dynamics constitute an explosive mix, which can negatively affect the region for decades to come. The region continues being marked by a general lack of pluralism in the society and political spheres. Stereotypes and lack of trust characterize the relations between communities within and across borders, which are however very interdependent. Stereotypes are manipulated for different interests, yet the program has showed that communities can become resilient and build trust across borders and “ethnicities”, in order to resist instrumentalization and break the cycle of violence. The context is highly volatile and the region stands at a critical juncture today, support to peacebuilding remains urgent, although not without risks.
Contributing to peace, reinforcing social cohesion and trust in the Great Lakes region, through the promotion of the value of common interests and increased cooperation between communities within and across borders, based on participatory research, dialogue platforms and advocacy. The programme seeks to reduce feelings of mistrust and prejudice, within and across borders.
The program directly targets:
Community members and decision makers in Burundi, Rwanda, the Kivus and Kinshasa.
6 local NGOs are direct implementers of the project, 4 in DRC, 1 in Burundi and 1 in Rwanda.
Never Again Rwanda; Centre d’Alerte et de Prévention des Conflits (CENAP) Burundi; Action pour la paix et la concorde (APC), Réseau d’Innovation Organisationelle (RIO), Bukavu; Centre d’Etudes Juridiques Appliquées (CEJA), Pole Institute, Nord Kivu.
Results from previous phases:
|Directorate/federal office responsible||
Swiss Non-profit Organisation
|Coordination with other projects and actors||
Synergies with Tujenje Amani (HSD project) and other trans-border initiatives (International Alert). Synergies with Interpeace national projects in Rwanda and Burundi (Sweden, Norway, DFID). FDFA/HSD support to CENAP in Burundi.
|Budget||Current phase Swiss budget CHF 4'000'000 Swiss disbursement to date CHF 3'750'000|
|Project phases||Phase 2 01.01.2017 - 31.12.2020 (Current phase) Phase 1 01.09.2013 - 31.12.2016 (Completed)|