For two decades, the Great Lakes region (Rwanda, Burundi, Eastern DR Congo) has suffered from a series of conflicts resulting in regional and national instability. Poverty, environmental problems, violence and social marginalisation affect especially the younger population and contribute to mutual distrust between ethnic groups and nations in the region.
In 2005, scouts in the region joined together to establish the foundations for lasting peace and sustainable social development. This remarkable effort resulted in the creation of hundreds of peace clubs led by youth mediators. In January 2012, Amahoro Amani began a new phase of its project in order to increase the support for and empowerment of community mediators and peace clubs, which work towards promoting and sustaining peace locally.
Community mediators have been trained in dealing with differences, managing conflicts non-violently and training others to be proactive Messengers of Peace too. Activities and workshops involving youth from different backgrounds (both scouts and non-scouts) are organised to promote peaceful coexistence and acceptance within and between communities. Trainings to raise awareness of ethnic prejudices and build capacities for conflict resolution increase youth empowerment and local ownership of peaceful processes.
The local peace clubs’ activities focus on mutual dialogue and understanding, which can help youth to identify and address problems in their communities together. Through peace education and understanding personal prejudices young people are better equipped to manage conflicts positively. The Amahoro Amani project is an impressive example of grass-roots peace-building initiated and run by local youth, and it has potential to continue growing and achieving an even wider impact in the region.
This project was funded by the Messengers of Peace Support Fund.
For more information, please visit http://www.amahoroamani.org/ .