Shalom Educating for Peace


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Transforming conflicts in cooperatives

From 30 July-2 August, Shalom Educating for Peace trained cooperative members in transforming conflicts at a training event under the auspices World Vision Rwanda.  31 participants from four cooperatives actively participated in the training in the Karongi district in the Western Region of Rwanda. The overall objective of the training was to equip the cooperatives with capacities to positively respond to conflicts and build trust among their members.

Having the participant stay at the training venue maximised their engagement and interaction. The training interchangeably used lectures, discussions, group work, case studies, plenary sessions, and role play. It was based on SEP-Rwanda’s unique training manual for training cooperatives in ‘Resolving and transforming conflicts’ which has been piloted and found very appropriate to the local context and applicable to trainings for cooperatives in Rwanda.

At the end of the training, participants expressed appreciation for the content and the approach used by the trainer. In addition to the knowledge gained from the training, they described the event as a unique opportunity where cooperative members can meet, exchange experiences, learn from one another, share about best practices, existing challenges and how they have faced and overcome them. The training enhanced their capacities in managing cooperatives, responding to conflicts in positive ways, and building social cohesion SEP_World Vision 20170802band trust among the members of cooperative as key elements of a healthy and successful cooperative.

 

Cooperative members made the following recommendations to organisations wanting to support their work:

  • Prepare and sign Memorandum of Understanding with Cooperatives in order to clarify roles and responsibilities in their partnership agreements.
  • Organize study visits, create and extend opportunities for exchanging experiences between cooperatives.
  • Establish mechanisms that could enable effective follow up and ensure the proper use of the support given to cooperatives.
  • Provide not only financial and material support but also build capacity of cooperatives and organise relevant trainings.
  • Organize a workshop on conflicts in cooperative for the cooperatives’ leaders and local authorities and advocate for the autonomy of the cooperatives in managing their resources and sharing interests.

 

 

 

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SEP in Germany

From 10th to 31st May, the executive director of SEP, Jean de Dieu Basabose had a speaking tour in Germany. The activity was organized in the framework of the friend-&-fund-raising strategy of the organization. The tour included two cities, Marburg and Berlin, and interactions with various potential partners.

Jean de Dieu attended meetings, conferences and speaking events. He also met wit2017 Germany Speaking Tour (9)h many organizations during the Kirchentag 2017 in Berlin (pictured left), which was an event in Germany to commemorate 100 years of Luther. He visited some organizations and explored possibilities of partnership with SEP. The trip was a worthwhile investment as it created visibility and awareness of the work of SEP as well as the challenges the organization is facing and provided good opportunities to invite potential supporters and partners to give a hand to SEP in pursuing its mission of building and sustaining positive peace through education.

As SEP is located at the interface between academics and practitioners, the trip was marked by meetings with a wide range of potential peacebuilding related University centers, NGOs, religious communities, goodwill people (such as the Rotary club) as well as developmental and political foundations.

The centre theme of the tour was SEP’s work on and lessons learned from SEP’s reconciliation work in Rwanda.

Jean de Dieu says, “After this 21 days visit in German, I reflected on events and2017 Germany Speaking Tour (11) discussions held during the trip and appreciated the special people of Germany I met in Marburg and Berlin. I keep remembering kind, welcoming, caring people who have a high sense of safeguarding the environment, people who learned a lot from their historical background and have become prepared to fight against destructive ideologies, and people who are consistent in what they do.  Some of the main lessons learned through the trip include that we human beings are interconnected, regardless of our different origins, religions and economic status, whatever affects my fellow human being will – in one way or another – affect others. Indisputably, reconciliation is a global challenge. Our past shapes the way we (i) live the present and (ii) envision our future. The consequences of colonization and other historic wrongs still need to be responded to.  The effective response to forced migration should include addressing its roots causes in the countries of origin.


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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.