Context

Africa’s Great Lakes region has experienced recurrent conflicts that have claimed millions of lives since the 1960s. In Burundi, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and Rwanda, many of the conflicts are deeply interconnected due to the interdependence between the three countries. The persistence of conflicts in the region has led to erosion of trust over time. Identity manipulation and stereotypes, competition over access to power and resources have often been cited as major conflict drivers.

In 2013, Interpeace and its local partners carried out an exploratory and preparatory process to consult the Great Lakes populations on the relevance of a regional programme and the strategic focus it should have. The consultations demonstrated a strong desire for cross-border dialogue between various stakeholders in the region. Identity manipulation and stereotypes stood out as major obstacles for sustainable peace in the region.

Two other research processes have been conducted, these include: “Land, Power and Identity” and most recently “Resilience for reconciliation in the Great Lakes region”. These studies will continue to inform the strategic orientation of programmatic interventions and initiatives.



Goal

Our programme seeks to promote peace, stability and social cohesion through strengthened resilience capacities for peace and reconciliation throughout the region. It aims to engage community members and decision-makers by creating safe spaces for inclusive dialogue between diverse actors and in promoting regional peace . The programme also seeks to reduce the vertical gap between decision makers and community members with an aim of promoting inclusive and participatory governance.



Cross-Border Dialogue for Peace in the Great Lakes

The programme is in its second phase of implementation which runs up to 2020. Acknowledging that the populations of the region are the authors of their own peace, the programme established permanent dialogue groups (GDP) to facilitate cross border exchanges. The dialogue spaces serve as a platform where communities can openly discuss the root causes of conflicts as well as propose solutions to address these challenges. We seek to establish a framework that will help rebuild and reinforce trust as well as deconstruct negative stereotypes between Burundians, Congolese and Rwandans. The dialogue groups have helped develop consensus-based and locally-owned solutions, and have provided a space for decision makers to connect with and consult the local population on their needs, priorities and understanding of conflicts that afflict the region. In addition, the programme is working towards creating a move...

Resources