Shalom Educating for Peace


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Germany speaking tour

In May, our director, Jean de Dieu Basabose, will be visiting organisations in Germany to talk about some themes that are close to our heart.

The first is on the “responsibility to reconcile violent conflicts”. This topic will (a) present the contribution of SEP to the process of reconciliation in Rwanda, challenges and lessons learned through the community field-work undertaken in a divided society and challenging context such as post-genocide Rwanda: (b) remind our responsibility to right the wrongs of the past and reconcile; (c) invite partners in reconciliation work to support SEP’s reconciliation initiatives in Rwanda.

The second is on “promoting anti-corruption education as a way of building positive peace“. This refer to our Ubupfura project and hear Jean will shares thoughts and field-based experience demonstrating the necessity of cultivating an anti-corruption mindset if we want to effectively prepare people for peace and achieve peace. Through the Ubupfura Project, Shalom creatively uses existing community resources and cultural values. Jean will share our unique approach which involves the whole community, with a particular focus on children and youth as the majority group in almost all African countries (for example, in Rwanda, more than 48% of the total population are people under 18 years old). This approach considers children not only as the beneficiaries of the interventions, but also as change agents to work with in order to successively transform the society.

Among others he’ll be speaking at a Imbuto in Marburg, as described here.

Thank you to all of you who have contributed to make this trip possible! Any further donations to this tour can be made here.


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SEP on the Radio

Every week we host a radio show on Rwanda’s Umucyo community radio about an aspect of peacebuilding. Over the past six months we’ve been focusing on two unrelated but critical areas. The one is the role of religion in building peace and the other is the UN’s sustainable development goals.

The role of religion in peacebuilding

Image result for church rwandaAccording to statistics, Rwandans are a religious people, with 93% of the population claiming to be Christian. Religious institutions have played an important role in healing the wounds of the past, social reintegration in a postgenocide context and educating communities for sustainable peace in Rwanda. However, religious leaders are not always open to criticism, or the reminder of the involvement of some leaders in perpetrating genocide related crimes. Because of the dark past, religious institutions in Rwanda are compelled to invest in healing and rebuild the trust that was broken during the genocide. Through the discussion on our radio show, we encourage religious leaders to plan and implement peace education programmes for their members and the communities they find themselves in.

The UN’s sustainable development goals

Image result for un sustainable development goal 16Another key topic on our radio show has been the UN’s 16th sustainable development goal which is to promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all, and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels. During the period surrounding the International Day of Peace in September, we took the opportunity to critically analyse this UN goal, its targets and its indicators. Although many are sceptical about the practical implementation of this goal, we commend the acknowledgement that efforts for sustainable development and positive peace are interlinked.


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First African Commissioners Conference

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Remembering the Rwandan genocide of 1994 remains a critical incentive to work harder for peace.

Shalom Educating for Peace co-hosted the first conference for Commissioners of African truth, reconciliation and human rights commissions, together with the Institute for Justice and Reconciliation. From 28-31 August, commissioners from around Africa met in Kigali to assess the achievements and shortcomings of African TRCs.

In a time when extensive energy and resources of governments, the private sector and civil society is being directed towards the rebuilding of nations after violent conflict, the role of transitional justice (TJ) mechanisms, including truth and reconciliation commissions, is relevant more than ever. Particularly in Africa, post-conflict nation building has become a central concern in ensuring sustainable peace. In this context, reconciliation has become integral to the nation building project, with peace agreements, policies, laws and institutions being formed in order to facilitate national reconciliation.

The South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission is the continent’s most internationally known TRC, yet there have been various other TRCs and permanent bodies established across the continent: Sierra Leone, Liberia, DRC, Nigeria, Ghana, Morocco, Rwanda, Kenya, Mauritius, Algeria, CAR, Ivory Coast, Ethiopia, Sudan, Uganda, Chad, Namibia, Zimbabwe and currently Tunisia and Burundi. Bringing these commissions and commissioners together at this time is critical, as the work they engage in plays an increasingly central role in sustaining peace in local communities and on a national level.

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L-R: Executive director, Stanley Henkeman, Patricia Nyaundi of the Kenyan Human Rights Commission, Director of SEP, Jean de Dieu Basabose and Ruben Richards of the South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission.

The important role these commissions are playing has not been sufficiently explored, and existing structures have insufficient resources and scope to coordinate networks and partnerships between these commissions.

There is also a need for the development of regional regulations and frameworks to guide reconciliation processes. Recognizing this challenge, the African Union’s African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights passed a Resolution on Transitional Justice in Banjul in April 2013 (ACHPR/Res.235) to implement an AU Transitional Justice Policy Framework and to explore the possibility of establishing a special mechanism on transitional justice in Africa. Similarly, the Institute for Justice and Reconciliation held a policy dialogue with SADC countries in 2014 to discuss the development of a regional policy framework for reconciliation.

The full report emerging from this important conference is available here.