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Strengthening of the ICGLR’s mediation capacities and initiatives in the Great Lakes Region

Implemented from October 2020 to June 2022, the “Inside Mediation project” was an integral component of the ICGLR’s Project on Peace and Security for Stability in the Great Lakes Region and was implemented by Interpeace, in partnership with GIZ and ICGLR. The project officially started in October 2020 and was implemented until end of June 2022.

The emphasis on mediation as a means of supporting peace and stability in the region fits squarely within Interpeace’s ongoing analyses and interventions in the region. In fact, the resilience for reconciliation study conducted in 2018 found that spaces of dialogue and mediation that promote peaceful resolution of conflicts were an important source of resilience for peace in the region.

The project has four specific objectives: (1)  to identify insider mediators who are able to support non-violent conflict resolution mechanisms in the Great Lakes region; (2) to strengthen the technical capacity of insider mediators to lead mediation initiatives; (3) to accompany insider mediators in applying their mediation skills to resolve existing conflicts at the national and subnational level in Rwanda and the DRC; and (4) to document and disseminate the lessons learnt to support the use of mediation strategies for conflict prevention and transformation across the Great Lakes Region.

Drawing on its long-standing presence and partnerships in the region, and in close concertation with the Core Team put in place during phase I, Interpeace identified individuals and institutions capable of leading mediation efforts at the national and subnational level and designed a training programme to strengthen their capacities as ‘insider mediators’. The training phase included ‘train-the-trainer’ sessions with the ICGLR Pool of Mediators and other regional resource persons, including experts from the Expanded Joint Verification Mechanism (EJVR) and Community of Practice on mediation/DDR. This provided the opportunity to strengthen the regional pool of mediators whilst also supporting the development of sectoral specific mediation capacities.

The capacity building interventions were complemented by stakeholder engagement and support to existing and new networks and communities of practice on mediation. This included efforts to harmonize community mediation approaches at the national and regional levels, developing national mediation training programmes, and supporting the development of mediation practices. Finally, through national and regional round tables, Interpeace provided opportunities for knowledge exchange between mediators and supported the documentation of lessons learnt with a view to constitute the evidence and knowledge base for mediation in the Great Lakes Region.