Interpeace’s programme in Ituri Province seeks to improve community safety by promoting dialogue and collaboration between citizens and the authorities. The programme established Permanent Dialogue Groups (GDPs), key spaces in which all stakeholders are able to discuss and co-design solutions to conflicts. In Nyankunde, Irumu territory, the efforts of the local GDP and the authorities significantly lowered tensions between the security forces and youth. Supported by the local authorities, the Nyankunde GDP organised a series of reconciliation dialogues between the security forces and young people. These helped young people to understand the security forces’ work and helped the security forces to recognise biases in their behaviour towards young people, demonstrating to both that peaceful resolution of tension was possible.
In February 2021, the GDP of Nyankunde, in collaboration with the administrator of Irumu territory and leaders of both communities, supported community barzas (dialogues) between Bira (most of whom are farmers) and Hema (most of whom are herders). The barzas, which were preceded by a consultation process led by the GDP, discussed peaceful solutions that would resolve tensions between the two communities. Recent population growth, and the different demands of their livelihoods, had increased competition over land. Destruction of Bira farmers’ crops by Hema cattle added to these tensions. Facilitated by the GDP’s mediation, the two communities agreed to find solutions through conciliation. The barzas also presented an opportunity to sensitise the communities on issues such as gender-based violence and land conflict. Both the dialogues and awareness-raising were effective, in that the communities no longer hesitate to request GDP mediation to resolve conflicts. This underlines the key role that GDPs play in transforming conflict dynamics in a sustainable manner.