Context

Insider mediation has in the recent years proven to be an important process in conflict prevention and peace consolidation. Interpeace’s Burundi programme supports insider mediators in Burundi, both at local and national levels in addressing and resolving conflicts in their communities. Nationally, it collaborates with the Office of the Ombudsman and has trained local leaders and mediators in all the 18 provinces. Additionally, the programme capitalises on emerging openings in the Burundian political space and regionally that has seen a rapprochement with Rwanda and as well as with international actors such as the European Union (EU). These openings continue to provide a strategic insertion point for insider mediators at the national level to create and strengthen transnational relationships to advance peace and stability in Burundi. Likewise, the current regime of President Ndayishimiye’s and its openness and commitment to reform, peace, and stability creates and enables an environment that is more conducive for mediators, especially those belonging to marginalised groups, to collaborate with government authorities and to lead peacebuilding initiatives.

Furthermore, the programme aims to respond to the existing and prevalent gender and generational inequalities. The programme recognizes that in Burundi, there are few opportunities for women and young people to play an active role as peace actors. However, whilst some progress has been made institutionally with the establishment of a 30% quota for women in the national assembly, senate, and cabinet, the political space remains under the control of older men. At the local level, prevailing sources of tension include recurrent land conflicts between families; political antagonisms between young people affiliated with political parties; repatriation of recent or long-term refugees; and customary laws that discriminate against women inheritance and succession.

About the programme

“Building Peace from the Inside: Supporting Insider Mediation for Sustainable Transformation of Conflict” is a four-year international consortium project funded by the EU’s Instrument Contributing to Stability and Peace (ICSP) and implemented by Search for Common GroundInterpeace,Berghof Foundation and partners Conflict Alert and Prevention Centre (CENAP) in Burundi and Africa University’s Institute of Peace Leadership and Governance (IPLG) in Zimbabwe. The project’s objective is to support insider mediators at a local and national level and to connect their efforts with some of the high-level processes supported by the European Union in Burundi, Niger and Zimbabwe. The consortium’s programme also  responds directly to EU strategic priorities as listed in the Concept on EU Concept of Mediation. These include: an enhanced focus on the safety and security of insider mediators, more systematic inclusion of youth and women mediators, the integration of digital technologies in programme activities, the recognition of climate change as an exacerbator of conflict, and the consolidation of partnerships and creation of synergies between insider mediators and international policymakers.

Currently, the project is now in its second phase (2023-2024).  the first phase objective was to contribute to national efforts for peace and stability in Burundi, Niger, and Zimbabwe. This second phase will build upon the results achieved during the first phase by supporting the EU in consolidating and further strengthening its approach to and operationalisation of insider mediation. The objective is to enhance the effectiveness, legitimacy, and utilisation of insider mediation as a mechanism for preventing and transforming violent conflict at the local, national, and international levels in Burundi, Niger, and Zimbabwe.

 

What the project hopes to accomplish

The consortium envisions an insider mediation that focuses on:

  • Enhancing the safety and security of insider mediators in the different contexts
  • More systemic inclusion of youth and women mediators
  • Elevating international understanding, recognition of and support for insider mediation
  • Collaborating with policymakers on the development of key mediation, policies, approaches and digital tools and empowering insider mediators on how to use these mediation approaches and tools.