Progress Report

NURTURING THE SEEDS OF PEACE: In Pursuit of PEACE, HEALING & RECONCILIATION

Introduction

Never Again Rwanda (NAR) has been involved in peace building and social justice in Rwanda for the past fourteen years. The organization is committed to promoting sustainable peace and development driven by creative, involved and critical thinking citizens. We are involved in a number of projects within Rwanda and its borders. We have five pillars which are Governance and Rights; Peace Building; Research and Advocacy; Education and Socio-Economic Empowerment.

This progress report outlines the activities and results during the past quarter between July and September 2016. We invite you to engage us as these initiatives progress. We are confident that these efforts will continue to positively influence the population towards the goal of attaining sustainable peace based on the Rwandan context. We are grateful for the partnership with Interpeace whom we implement with the societal healing and participatory governance for peace in Rwanda . We thank our donors who are USAID, Swedish Embassy in Kigali and GIZ.

People

People

Civil Society, Youth, Media, Political Leaders and women

The Solution

The Solution

Never Again Rwanda brings the voice of hope in peace building, healing and reconciliation within Rwanda by involving the youth in the decision making processes and partnering with the government to influence relevant policies.

 

The problem

The problem

After the 1994 genocide against the Tutsis, Rwanda is achieving lasting peace. However, there are several challenges in the path towards peace. These challenges include part of a population that is still healing from the effects of the 1994 genocide against Tutsis as well as fighting genocide ideology.

We Tackle

We Tackle

Reconciliation, Healing, Peacebuilding, Governance, Human Rights, Youth Socio- Economic Empowerment

Our Reach

Peacebuilding

PEACE BUILDING

Reach and impact: Through the Peace Building Pillar we impacted these people:

1271 Rwandans: 739 Male and 532 Female participants

Phase II training for peace agents

The 3-day training drew 19 (9 Females, 10 Males) participants from Lycee de Kigali, University of Kibungo (INATEK), Rulindo, Karongi, Nyagatare, Rukumberi, Musanze, Gisenyi Adventist Secondary School and Nyabihu. Participants explored wounds in the Rwandan society, healing options, common expressions and facilitation skills for wounded groups. By the end of the training participants had learnt the importance of “listening to understand” and empathy. One male participant stated “I thought I could facilitate dialogue the same way I used to facilitate meetings but then I have realized that I will not only be a peace agent but a participant since I will learn from group members.

international Day of Youth

On August 12 2016, NAR joined the world in celebrating the International Day of Youth with the theme: The Role of Youth in Poverty Alleviation and Achieving Sustainability. Held at Novotel Hotel, the celebrations brought together 72 participants (29F, 43M) comprising of representatives from Business Development Fund (BDF), NAR staff, youth from respective clubs/associations and media from Kigali. The discussions centered on the successes and challenges of entrepreneurship and innovation facing young entrepreneurs. Research, networking and information were identified as important for business start-ups. Challenges highlighted by youth were lack of skills in project development, lack of start-up capital and mentorship. In response to these challenges, passion, perseverance and patience were highlighted as key factors that sustain business environment.

Monthly peace dialogues and spaces for peace 

During this quarter, 14 spaces were conducted (4 schooling, 5 community groups and 5 non – schooling).

Results of peace dialogues

Nine groups were operational, 4 schooling groups and 5 non-schooling groups. Youth developed an understanding of individual wounds and expressed what they hope to achieve as a result of their participation in the monthly peace dialogues. Peace dialogue has positively changed the lives of young people, as one participant said that he feels at home during peace dialogue.

International Day of Peace (IDP)

NAR in partnership with the National Unity and Reconciliation Commission (NURC) joins the world in celebrating the International Day of Peace, every year through youth parliamentarian exchange which brings together youth from around the country. This year’s theme was ‘Building blocks for Peace: The role of youth in promoting peace and sustainable development.’ NAR and NURC organized a session, which brought together 400 participants, to enable interaction between young people and members of parliament on issues of concern to the youth. Concerns were raised on the lack of a peace culture ingrained in the education system. It was concluded that the lessons on peace start at the family level since that is the foundation of how people view issues and how they are likely to behave in future. Both parents and teachers play a big role in shaping a child’s perception of peace. The responsibility to establish a peace culture should not be left to teachers only. Every citizen is required to play their role in peace building.

Peace Building Success Story

Governance & Rights

GOVERNANCE AND RIGHTS

The 3rd quarter coincided with a key event in governance in Rwanda, the Governance Month from 14 September to end of October 2016. It is organized by the Ministry of Local Government and Rwanda Governance Board, as a period dedicated to governance activities that enhance citizens’ rights, participation, transparency, accountability and service delivery at the local level. This year the Governance Month is being held under the theme, “Citizen-centred governance; a pillar for sustainable development”. During the launch of the governance month in Nyabihu district, the Minister of Local Government, Francis Kaboneka tasked local leaders to give more attention to citizen issues. Another key event which has a lot of significance within governance in Rwanda is the presentation of the ranking showing performance after an evaluation of all districts and the signing of Imihigo between the district mayors and the President H. E. Paul Kagame. As an organization dealing with governance-related issues, NAR has a vested interest in how the sectors and districts in which it operates performed in achieving the goals set in their respective performance contracts.

Citizens Forum

The 10 established citizen forums successfully conducted monthly meetings from July 2016 to September 2016. NAR launched two citizen forums in Nyarugenge (Mageragere sector) on the 16th of August 2016 at the Association Des Jeunes De Saint Charles Lwanga (AJECL) Hall and at Nyabihu (Mukamira sector) on the 10th of August 2016 at the Sunrise guest house. The aim of the Mageragere citizens’ forum launch was to encourage and enable citizen participation in governance, all the while strengthening the link between them and decision-makers. In launching the citizens’ forum, NAR partnered with district and sector leaders in Mageragere sector and Nyarugenge districts. The decision-makers who attended the event demonstrated great interest in citizen forums and promised to support them since their success will contribute to advancement of good governance practices, thus having a great impact on development of the citizens in Nyabihu and elsewhere.

Advocacy sub-committee and Joint Development Forum (JADF) meeting

During this past quarter, Never Again Rwanda attended a JADF Open Day in Byumba sector in Gicumbi district from the 17th – 19th August 2016 with the purpose of enhancing transparency and accountability by engaging citizens about their priorities and decisions, as well as district development activities towards sustainable development. Throughout the open day, NAR had an exhibition stand containing its publications; mainly activity reports, video documentaries and newsletters.

Advocacy Initiatives

  • Advocacy on the higher property tax in Mukamira sector, Nyabihu district. This resulted in the reduction in tax from RwF 30 to RwF 10 per square meter
  • Advocacy on accountability of Mudugudu leader in Nyaruguru district
  • Advocacy on fair land taxes and school drop outs in Rwamagana district

Governance & Rights Success Story

Research & Advocacy

RESEARCH AND ADVOCACY

During this quarter, research and advocacy program conducted a study entitled ‘Governing with and for Citizens: Lessons from a Post-Genocide Rwanda.’ The study aimed at exploring citizen participation in governance from a post–genocide Rwanda perspective in order to facilitate evidence–based programming for the ‘Participatory Governance’ program and advocacy related matters emanating from the report. While this research had been on going from the previous quarter, the following activities were carried out in the 3rd quarter.

Validation of the research report in the national Stakeholders’ Meeting

The stakeholders meeting aimed at (i) reviewing and validating the research report entitled “Governing with and for citizens: lessons from a Post Genocide Rwanda”, (ii) seeking guidance from participants of the stakeholders meeting on prioritization of suggested policy recommendations, and (iii) suggesting and making priorities of future research themes. The meeting brought together high-level officials from central government and local leadership, citizens and representatives of the civil society. In all, 150 invitees attended at the Marriott Hotel on 24 August 2016.

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Our outcomes

Peace building

Governance

  • Men and women committed to peacefully and openly discuss sensitive issues
  • Shared vision of building peaceful communities promoted amongst citizens
  • Increased trust amongst members of communities to share personal stories and engage in open dialogue
  • Increased tolerance amongst the youth, who are able to manage diversity and work together for a shared vision of a peaceful nation
  • Increased citizen confidence to engage decision makers on critical issues affecting community
  • Improved understanding and desire by citizens to participate in solving problems facing their communities
  • Increased ability of citizens to express their views and set priorities in their communities
  • Improved collaboration and cohesion amongst the citizens
  • Increased citizen ability to articulate recommendations and solutions jointly with decision makers

Our Testimony

“My husband and I are from different ethnic backgrounds, during the commemoration period there is no peace whatsoever at home. I don’t speak or grieve and it became difficult to know how to behave around him. When I’m in grief he insults me claiming that I’m pretending , there are times when he tells me to go with me fellow Tutsis and cry with them he always tells me that I should know we are not the only ones who are bereaved yet all we do is cry. Before I didn’t know how to handle his insults, he would insult me and I would fight back and he would end up beating me and my children. He would tell me to go back to my family which would make me extremely wounded because I knew I wasn’t accepted there either, they had already disowned me. I turned into an animal, nothing used to make me happy or sad, I tried my best not to think about my life at all because my family disowned me and I was not accepted by my husband and his family. I decided silence was the best medicine, when my husband would insult me I would just keep quiet, when he would spit on my face I would wipe my face and keep quiet. To some extent my silence saved me, my husband no longer beats me because he is afraid that I might end up killing him and for sure there are times when I felt like taking a machete and kill him, but then when I think of the consequences and my children the awful thought goes away. This space has motivated me because I have learnt how to behave around my husband and how to live in peace. I will try to find time when he is in a good mood to talk to him and I will try as much as possible to avoid arguing with him. I’m going to love my children and raise them well, despite being disowned by my family I will try to reach out to them”

My uncle committed Genocide, when we heard about the presidential pardon we approached him and we asked him to confess for his crimes he said “No they want to kill all of us, when Gacaca came they sentenced him to 20 years… he released last year. When I went to visit him recently I told him about this space, he was very surprised he asked “Do you really talk to them (Tutsis)? I’m surprised to hear you talk to them” .When I watched the documentary film I got inspired by the man who said that “whatever sin someone commits there is something that never dies within him/her there is a light that never fades. This gave me hope that one day he will change. As indicated in both testimonies some members of the spaces still have negative attitudes which in most cases deeply affect those who participate in the space since they tend to affect their healing progress. However participants of new spaces are hopeful that once they are healed they will be able to heal their family members and surrounding environment.