Tomorrow Rwanda joins the rest of the world to celebrate the International Day of Peace (IDP). While the global theme for this year: “Together for Peace: Respect, Safety and Dignity for All” highlights the plight of refugees and migrants around the world, Rwanda will focus on promoting peace in the family unit.
Rwanda has already made significant strides in peace-building through efforts of the government and peacebuilding actors such as Never Again Rwanda (NAR).The focus on the family this year is testament to the commitment of the government and peacebuilding actors in the country to sustain achievements gained and keep up the momentum.
The country will reflect on how to promote the family values of respect and dignity for sustainable development in line with the National theme for this year: “Together for Peace: Promoting the values of respect and dignity through peaceful families”; “Twese Hamwe duharanire amahoro twimakaza indangagaciro z’ubwubahane n’agaciroka muntu mu muryango”
“Studies reveal that in intra-family conflicts, some of the major causes of conflict is due to lack of proper dialogue among family members. This is problematic to the entire community and not just the family because it is the individual families that actually make up the community,” said Florence Batoni, Peacebuilding coordinator at Never Again Rwanda. As an important unit, the family is a starting point of any intended change in society thus building a culture of peace needs to be addressed from the family and then propagated to the rest of the community.
Never Again Rwanda strongly believes in building the capacity of youth to promote peace in families and communities. One of the main activities to mark the international Day of Peace is the Youth Parliamentary Exchange which will take place in the Parliament under the theme: Together for Peace: Promoting the values of respect and dignity through peaceful families”. This has been organized in collaboration with National Unity and Reconciliation Commission (NURC) and other peace actors.
The Parliamentary exchange will bring together young people from different Districts who are engaged in peace-building activities to discuss achievements, challenges and opportunities as well as strategies to promote sustainable peace in their communities.
The overall objective of all NAR peacebuilding programs is to empower to empower the population especially the youth to embrace the use of non-violent approach to solve their own problems and those arising in their communities as they think critically. Armed with critical thinking skills, youth can solve family related problems and issues through peaceful dialogue as well as protect themselves from harmful ideologies that could be passed on to them by family members.
The peacebuilding institute, safe spaces of peace that use psychosocial support approach to healing and the annual national commemoration conference are youth centered strategies that NAR uses to promote peaceful values. Through these, youth come together to learn from each other on how to peacefully resolve conflict in their families and in the community. They are also taught critical thinking and conflict solving skills that they can transfer to other youth in their respective communities.
Peace-building Institute (PBI)
This bi-annual Peace-building program aims at providing youth with peace-building skills through experiential learning in order to prevent genocide and future conflict in their respective communities.
The program brings together Rwandan, Regional and International University students and young professionals to explore concepts of genocide history and prevention, transitional justice processes, good governance and development as well as women, peace and security. PBI promotes experience sharing and learning, creating a network of peace ambassadors and creates understanding of events that led to the 1994 genocide against the Tutsis and Rwanda’s recovery process.
Spaces for Peace and platforms for healing
NAR promotes safe spaces and platforms for healing from the traumatic past through creation of safe spaces that support community members and youth to overcome their trauma through dialogue and acquire skills in mediation tolerance and trust building.
Local and Regional public Speaking
This is a platform that brings together secondary school students from Rwanda and the Region to exchange on peace and conflict issues in the Great lakes Region. Through these platform students are empowered through information sharing and research which help to deconstruct negative stereotypes and gain empathy tolerance as well as gaining interest in peace issues among students.
National Commemoration Conference
The objective of this annual conference is to reflect and learn from the genocide history for the population in general and youth to draw lessons from Rwanda’s horrific past to create a peaceful society. It brings together youth, government institutions civil society organizations that work in peace-building initiatives. The conference also supports youth to gain understanding on how to commemorate the 1994 genocide against the Tutsis peacefully and constructively.
NB: This is a sponsored article by Never Again Rwanda