11.10.2018

Building peace through culture: joint projects to foster mutual understanding

In Rwanda, GIZ supports peaceful coexistence between refugees and host communities through cultural and educational activities. Examples include photography workshops, a newspaper created by refugees and training courses on conflict resolution.

For decades now, Rwanda has been receiving refugees, most of whom come from Burundi and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Around 150,000 people are accommodated in six refugee camps operated by the government, and more than half are children and young people. This large number of refugees poses challenges for the host communities.

The Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH works with the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR) in Rwanda. The aim is to improve the difficult living conditions of the people housed in three refugee camps and those in the surrounding communities. Two employees from the Civil Peace Service (CPS) support activities that promote peaceful co-existence. 

The activities offered include a radio show that helps young locals and refugees to understand one another, photography workshops, a newspaper produced by refugees, and training courses. More than 1,000 young people have benefited from these schemes so far.

The project has also enabled more than 100 refugees and Rwandans to take up vocational training. One in four have already completed their training, with 61 expected to finish in 2019. Refugees and people from the neighbouring communities have also been trained up as multipliers. Around 120 municipal employees are providing people with psychosocial support. This allows refugees to process traumatic experiences, such as sexual abuse. There are 55 peace ambassadors on hand to mediate in conflicts, and 260 people have taken part in training courses on peaceful conflict resolution. 

Experience gained from this work in Rwanda will determine further planning up to 2021.