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.