Never Again Rwanda, a member of the Global Coalition for Conflict Transformation, has launched a four-year Societal Healing and Participatory Governance program, in conjunction with the release of research findings on healing in Rwanda.
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Never Again Rwanda officially launched a four-year program on Tuesday that will address healing needs in Rwanda, as well as enhance citizen participation in government. Over 150 stakeholders from government, civil society organizations, including peacebuilding actors involved in healing and reconciliation, government institutions and mental health experts, joined NAR to celebrate the launch of the program and to learn about how it will empower Rwandan citizens to address challenges to peace in their communities.
The program, entitled Societal Healing and Participatory Governance for Peace in Rwanda (SHPG), is funded by the Embassy of Sweden in Rwanda, and implemented by Never Again Rwanda with support from its partner Interpeace. With the aim of contributing to the consolidation of a peaceful and inclusive Rwandan society, the program uses participatory action research to foster homegrown solutions to the country’s challenges to sustainable peace. NAR’s Chairperson, Dr. Joseph Nkurunziza said that the program is designed to involve actors in Rwanda to ensure that it is as inclusive and transparent as possible to all stakeholders.
“To meet the challenge of ensuring sustainable peace in Rwanda, collaboration and partnerships between actors in government, civil society, faith-based organizations, development and the public at large are needed,” said Dr. Nkurunziza. “With the right mindset and by making use of the collaborative opportunities provided by the SHPG program – such as this very meeting – much can be done to unlock people’s potential to cooperate and innovate for societal healing and citizen-centred governance in this country.”
The Societal Healing aspect of the program seeks to enable Rwandans to overcome the wounds of the past and to peacefully manage conflicts and diversity through participant-driven dialogue groups: Youth Peace Dialogues, for people between the ages of 15-35, and Spaces for Peace for adults. The Participatory Governance aspect of the program also uses participant-driven dialogue groups, called Citizen Forums, to empower Rwandans to influence policy and programs responsive to citizen priorities and to minimize the space between citizens and the decision-makers who represent them.
A pilot phase of both Youth Peace Dialogues and Citizen Forums have already been rolled out in Huye, Gasabo, Karongi, Bugesera and Musanze. Beneficiaries of these dialogues attended the launch and spoke about how the dialogue groups had already had a positive impact on them, and on their communities.
Mapping healing actors and approaches
In line with the commitment to transparency and owner in conjunction with the launch of the program, NAR also validated the findings of a mapping research report, regarding healing actors and the approaches they use in Rwanda. The 150 attendees at the event were provided with opportunities to review the findings and provide their inputs to be integrated into the report entitled, Societal Healing in Rwanda: A Mapping of Actors and Approaches.
The report, which drew lessons from the experiences of 45 organizations that conduct work in healing, reconciliation and peacebuilding and uncovered the need for more healing initiatives to complement the progress already made by governmental and non-governmental organizations to address psychological wounds of Rwandans and to rebuild trust in communities across the country.
To learn more about the report, you can read this story.
Never Again Rwanda is a peacebuilding and human rights organization that was founded in response to the 1994 genocide perpetrated against Tutsis. Never Again Rwanda is guided by a vision of a nation where citizens are agents of positive change and work together towards sustainable peace and development. Based in Kigali, but with projects going on all around Rwanda and the Great Lakes Region, Never Again Rwanda’s mission is to enhance citizens’ capacity to analyze the root causes of conflict and to facilitate dialogue among peers in order to generate ideas and activities that work towards sustainable peace and socio-economic development. With 13 years of experience, Never Again Rwanda is one of the leading national peacebuilding organizations in the country.