Supporting peaceful coexistence between host communities and refugees
Civil Peace Service/Special Initiative on Displaced Persons and Host Countries: Psychosocial support for refugees, improving relationships between the local population and refugees, peace education measures
German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)
2014 to 2026
Products and expertise
Security, reconstruction and peace
Grave human rights violations committed by countless militias and the regular armed forces in the east of the Democratic Republic of the Congo and the crisis surrounding the 2015 elections in Burundi have caused thousands of people from these countries to flee and seek refuge in Rwanda.
The refugees and Rwandans live at close quarters, often sharing the same infrastructure and scarce resources. Both groups view one another with prejudice and mistrust as a result of inequality and unequal treatment. These challenges and the psychological stress experienced by the refugees result in conflicts and violence – both within the refugee camps and between the refugee camp inhabitants and the host communities.
Young refugees from the camps and youths from nearby host communities can dismantle preconceptions they have of one another and transform conflicts without violence.
The project supports measures in the Mahama, Kigeme and Mugombwa refugee camps of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) as well as in the surrounding host communities.
In cooperation with its partner organisations Vision Jeunesse Nouvelle (VJN), Ejo Youth Echo (EYE), Eglise Evangélique des Amis au Rwanda (EEAR) and the Legal Aid Forum (LAF), the project promotes a culture of peace between refugees and host communities, using creative and interactive methods – such as conflict-sensitive media production, educational cinema, forum theatre and sport.
The project also trains local service providers and works with representatives who hold leadership roles in the camp and host communities on nonviolent conflict transformation.
In addition, it supports accompanying measures of Association Rwandaise de Conseillers en Traumatisme (ARCT Ruhuka) and Life Wounds Healing Association (LIWOHA) to strengthen people’s mental health and help them overcome trauma. Both partners promote social skills, knowledge on mental health conditions, representation of interests and networking.
Last update: May 2023