Building peace using radio in the African Great Lakes Region

28 avril, 2015

On a Friday afternoon earlier this month, four Africans sat together in a radio studio, participating in a discussion that was being broadcast across three countries in the Great Lakes region.

One of the interlocutors was a political leader, a Member of the National Parliament of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) from North Kivu Province. The second was a young female student from the country’s South Kivu Province. The third interlocutor was the Director of the Rwandan peacebuilding organisation, Never Again Rwanda (NAR), and the fourth was a Burundian lady attached to the Office of the Second Vice-President who is also a member of a local Steering Committee. Her committee is one of many structures that are part of a cross-border programme that seeks to achieve peaceful coexistence between the people of Rwanda, Burundi and the DRC by building trust through dialogue.

A discussion on youth in the context of identity-based manipulation

The four were participating in the ‘Voix des Grands Lacs’ (in English, ‘Voice of the Great Lakes’), a topical radio show produced as part of the Cross-border Dialogue for Peace in the Great Lakes Region Programme, implemented by Interpeace and six partner organisations in Rwanda, Burundi and the DRC. Their topic of discussion on this particular afternoon was ‘Youth in the context of identity-based manipulation.’

Interpeace’s regional programme builds trust among the communities

Interpeace’s cross-border programme supports the development of sustainable peace among the peoples of these three bordering countries, who have over the decades perceived each other with suspicion and mistrust, fuelled by identity-based manipulations and negative stereotypes. These perceptions have oftentimes triggered some of the most violent conflicts the world has witnessed in recent times.

Reaching out to the grassroots in the African Great Lakes Region

Considering that radio is by far the main source of news and information in the African Great Lakes Region, the radio show is one of the avenues Interpeace and its partners are using to build trust among these communities.

As with this broadcast, every panel discussion of the Voix des Grand Lacs show will be simultaneously relayed on five radio stations across the three countries. These are Radio Isango Star in Rwanda; Radio Isanganiro in Burundi; and in the geographically vast DRC – which is Africa’s second largest country – the show was broadcast on Radio Maendeleo in South Kivu Province; Pole FM in North Kivu Province; and Radio UCG in North Kivu Province.

A podcast of the discussion can be downloaded here (in French): La Voix Des Grands Lacs from Interpeace on Vimeo.