Great Lakes


The African Great Lakes region has experienced recurrent conflicts that have claimed millions of lives, in Burundi, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), and Rwanda, since the 1960s. Many of the conflicts are deeply interconnected due to shared historical and social realities to a significant degree. The cycles of violence have affected stability, development, and economic prospects creating systemic vulnerabilities.

In 2013, Interpeace and its local partners consulted the Great Lakes populations on the relevance of a regional programme and the strategic focus it should have. Identity manipulation and stereotypes, competition over access to power and resources, movements of armed groups, as well as the legacies of the 1994 genocide against Tutsi in Rwanda are admittedly the major conflict drivers. The consultations revealed a strong demand for cross-border dialogue among communities along the shared borders, as well as between those communities and policy-makers.

After a prioritization exercise involving national, subnational political leaders and civil society representatives, the regional forum recommended to undertake more extensive research on two main issues:  the role of prejudices, stereotypes, and identity manipulation in the GLR and the nexus between   “Land, identity, power and population movements”. The research on identity, power and population movements showed a direct link between the competition over land ownership and use, identities and population movements, and how they contribute to the escalation of conflicts in the three countries of the Great Lakes Region.

The recent study on resilience for reconciliation in the Great Lakes Region aimed to change the mainstream narratives and research agenda that mostly tend to dwell more on divisions, precariousness, and insecurity than on the potential and capacity of the populations of these three countries to overcome challenges and adapt. It analysed resilience capacities that could inspire or strengthen ongoing or foreseeable reconciliation efforts for sustainable peace in the region.

Findings from these studies continue to inform the strategic orientation of Interpeace and its partners’ programmatic interventions and initiatives in the region.  


Notre programme sur la rĂ©gion des Grands Lacs cherche Ă  faire avancer la paix, la stabilitĂ© et la cohĂ©sion sociale au travers de capacitĂ©s renforcĂ©es de rĂ©silience pour la paix et la rĂ©conciliation dans toute la rĂ©gion. Il active des membres des communautĂ©s, notamment les femmes et les jeunes, de mĂȘme que les dĂ©cideurs, en Ă©tablissant des dispositifs sĂ»rs pour un dialogue inclusif entre diffĂ©rents acteurs vers les avancĂ©es de la paix rĂ©gionale. Il cherche Ă©galement Ă  rĂ©duire le dĂ©calage vertical entre les dĂ©cideurs et les membres des communautĂ©s avec l’objectif d’une gouvernance inclusive et participative.


Cross-Border Dialogue for Peace and Youth Empowerment in the Great Lakes

The first two phases of the “Cross-Border Dialogue for Peace in the Great Lakes Region” initiative ran from 2013 to 2016 and 2017 to 2021, and covered the DRC (North and South Kivu), Rwanda, and Burundi. In early 2021, Interpeace and its partners embarked on an expanded third phase that includes Uganda and focuses on youth leadership in peace processes. Young people, who make up most of the...

Past initiatives

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 supp...