Dialogue, catalyst for social cohesion in Rwanda
Written by: Daniel Tuyizere
Friday, September 8th, 2017, 16:01
Rwanda has attained an impressive degree of peace, security, and development through different listening sessions that use a comprehensive and inter-generational approach to promote social cohesion.
This was revealed during a dialogue forum on social cohesion with community and national leaders held in Kigali as a part of a USAID funded project” Healing our Communities” coordinated by KARUNA Centre for Peace building.
Fidèle Ndayisaba, the Executive Secretary of National Unit and Reconciliation Commission emphasized that unity and reconciliation in Rwanda is at good step and continues to develop. There is political and citizens’ will to fight divisionism and people has put forward what unites them.
A 2-year program aims at improving community responsiveness and adaptability to post- genocide needs by establishing links between communities and government officials. It works with three Rwandan partner organizations; Healing and Rebuilding Our Communities (HROC), Aegis Trust/Rwanda, and the Institute for Dialogue and Peace.
According to Rosette Sebatoni, the KARUNA Country Project Manager, there were so many hidden things that were revealed during those different dialogues as every community has its specific history (uniqueness).
As relationship among Rwandans has been challenged by the history of the country, the project works with different groups of people including genocide survivors, protectors of friendship pact, people who did killings, people who came from exile and others who went through different traumatic events in order to be helped by dialogues for healing.
“Most of people have understood the impact of unity and reconciliation due to these organizations. People are free to talk to each other without basing on their history since we are building our nation, but , there are also a number of people who still need to dialogue and sensitizations for peace,” underlined Xavera Mukarutesi, one of IRDP facilitators in Kirehe district.
The program focuses on 16 places across the nation where post-genocide tensions remain high. In these communities, their consortium integrates trauma healing, dialogue, joint problem solving, and volunteer projects to help the most vulnerable. Meanwhile, they empower youth to use low-cost technology for reconciliation conversations nationwide.
Part of the project’s scope is holding listening sessions at the local and national level. The project operates in eight target districts namely Gicumbi, Gakenke, Karongi, Nyamasheke, Rubavu, Kirehe, Bugesera and Gisagara.
Those communities have dialogue and youth clubs gathering regularly to discuss and overcome issues, to carry out community projects that benefit vulnerable families and promote social cohesion.
The project has helped create effectiveness channels through which policymakers can collaborate and hear directly from communities about the challenges they face.