Rwanda’s peacekeeping contingent, the sixth largest in the world, has earned accolades wherever it has been sent.
Not content to just keep the peace, the men and women of the Rwanda Defence Forces (RDF) and the National Police have also contributed to repairing the social structure and improve infrastructure.
From building schools in Darfur, improving hygiene in Haiti and keeping rival factions at bay in Central African Republic, they have even transplanted some of Rwanda home grown policies such as the monthly community work (Umuganda) and resolving conflicts in the true African way.
Just last week, the RDF contingent in Darfur managed to bring two warring faction to sit at one table to iron out their differences. The groups that have been at each other’s throats for years agreed to bury the hatchet.
Then this weekend, in order to build social cohesion in the religiously divided Bangui, RDF brought all communities together in Umuganda, where they were taught the value of working together as a community to solve common problems.
Trust can only return if communities learn to identify problems and common means of solving them. That is what the Rwandan peacekeepers have been building in all peacekeeping missions.
Every society has its own tailor-made approaches to its problems. There is no One-glove-fits-all. CAR, Sudan or Mali have a lot to learn from the peacekeepers because they have been through that route before and know the value of having a unified nation.