Empowering New Generations for Active Nonviolence
“Active nonviolence happens when peaceful means are used to promote one’s ideas, fight injustice or resist aggression. It happens when respect for one’s adversary is preached. It happens when one advocates for a struggle that does not undermine the integrity … of one’s opponent.”
— A young participant in the Kinshasa training,
Democratic Republic of Congo,
facilitated by Les Amis de Nelson Mandela
pour la défense de Droits Humains
In May 2018, Pax Christi International launched a new programme in the Great Lakes region of Africa called ‘Empowering new generations on active nonviolence and entrepreneurship’.
The purpose of the programme is to educate young people on the culture of peace and active nonviolence and includes assisting disadvantaged youth in creating small scale businesses. This project is taking place simultaneously in 3 countries (Burundi, Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo) and is being implemented by 16 organisations in Kinshasa, Kananga, Kisangani, Goma, Bukavu, Butembo, Uvira, Butare and Bujumbura. The project was initiated with a special “training of trainers” in order to build up a pool of young men and women trained in active nonviolence and the skills to train others. This initial group of trainers then carried out the planning and implementation of further trainings in collaboration with youth movements in their villages and at local schools. Recognising the attraction that extremist armed movements present to young people by providing them with the means to sustain themselves, it was also determined that entrepreneurship needed to be a core component of the programme, offering young people a pathway to economic sustenance. To accomplish this, the second phase of the programme concentrated on accompanying young people in income generating activities.
Sr Angèle: Creating Communities of Nonviolence in DR Congo
Active Nonviolence Training in Schools
The Centre Jeunes Kamenge (CJK) organised training sessions on active nonviolence for youth movements in the parish of Kamenge. A total of 339 young people participated in these training sessions, including 181 young women and 158 young men. In the months of February and March, the CJK continued training sessions in three schools: Cibitoke high school, Nyabagera high school, and ECOFO Nyabagera, for a total of nearly 3300 students of which 1845 were young women.
New Training in Burundi
The CEJP (Episcopal Commission for Justice and Peace) organised training sessions on active nonviolence for the youth movements in the parish of Gatumba, in the district of Gatumba.
A total of 207 young people participated in these training sessions, 89 of whom were young women.
In the months of February and March, the CEJP continued the training in four schools including Musaga high school, Rohero high school, Vugizo high school and Kamenge high school for a total of 1,182 students of which 641 were young men and 541 were young women.
New Training in Rwanda
Despite very strict pandemic measures that have recently been in place in Rwanda, one of our members was able to launch a training in nonviolence for young people. The Association Modeste et Innocent (AMI) launched training activities for students at the Karama School Group on 13 February 2021. A peace club for active nonviolence has been created and is made up of 60 young people, with an equal number of young women and men.
The leadership of the school is very happy with the content of the training given to these young people, and has promised a fruitful collaboration for the achievement of results.
Pax Christi Uvira: Humanitarian Action for Burundian Refugees
Pax Christi Uvira has undertaken a new project on Humanitarian action to improve the living conditions and community resilience of Burundian refugees and the local host community. The project looks at the cases of Lusenda and Mulongwe in Fizi territory in South Kivu of the DR Congo throughout 2020 and 2021.
Pax Christi Uvira, a member of Pax Christi International, is implementing a humanitarian and development project in DR Congo to assist Burundian refugees settled in Lusenda and Mulongwe. It also aims to help host communities according to the needs they have articulated, including second-hand clothing for nearly 9000 refugees, school kits for more than 3200 children, and funding to strengthen Income Generating Activities for 20 groups of Burundian refugees. This project also supports creative and recreational activities along with early childhood protection for Burundian refugees and those from the host community of Lusenda. It also provides support on such themes as refugee law, land law and migration, gender-based violence, the right to a child’s identity (registration of births at the civil registry office). The project seeks awareness raising on social cohesion, peacebuilding, respect for rights and the development of Burundian refugees settled in South Kivu in the DR Congo.
Training of Sisters in DR Congo
Inspired by the training and formation Pax Christi International gave to religious sisters in DR Congo in 2020, a group of sisters went back home to give formation others in their communities and to some parish groups. In February 2021, Sister Angèle Gapio of the Sisters Servants of Jesus congregation in the diocese of Bunia organised a three-day training session for 31 young sisters. The training took place in the diocese of Mahagi-Nioka, very close to the border with Uganda. The training focused on the themes of non-violent communication, active nonviolence, evangelical nonviolence and evangelical forgiveness as well as the themes of conflict and emotional management. The training ended with a solemn Mass presided over by His Excellency Msgr Sosthène Ayikuli, Bishop of the Mahagi-Nioka diocese and concelebrated by six priests with the participation of the Mother General, the sisters and a few lay Christians.
Training in Burundi
As part of the training project on active nonviolence and peacebuilding Nduwamahoro Non-Violent Active, a member of Pax Christi International, organised a three-day training for young people from St. Michel Parish in Bujumbura, Burundi from 19 to 21 January 2021.
Forty participants including 14 young women and 26 young men from Catholic youth movements took part in this training.
At the end of the training, the participants committed themselves to work for peace and active nonviolence in their respective communities and received certificates as peacemakers.
Meeting in Goma
From on 22 and 23 January in Goma (DR Congo), a meeting of youth representatives from various operational peace clubs was held in collaboration with the NGO “Africa Reconciled”, a member of the Pax Christi International network.
This youth meeting brought together 30 participants, made up of 12 young women and 18 young men.
During this annual two-day meeting youth representatives from six territories of the province of North Kivu and the city of Goma reflected and exchanged on the challenges related to peace building in the DRC, active nonviolence, insecurity and development in their respective contexts.
The resolutions made by the young people will soon be advocated to Congolese decision-makers through the elected representatives of the people (the deputies). The hope is that governance changes positively with the involvement of young people in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Training in DR Congo
Our member organisation Africa Reconciled has been very busy implementing youth training in active nonviolence. Following trainings in Katana, Bukavu, Masisi, Rutshuru, and Goma, training is now taking place in the city of Uvira in South Kivu (DR Congo). The training focuses on active nonviolence, peacebuilding, youth entrepreneurship and democracy. The activities empower young people and equip them with the tools for understanding and participating in democracy and human rights, so that they are free and independent of manipulation.
Youth Training in Rwanda 2020
On 3 December 2020 in the Karama parish of the diocese of Butara, the Association Modeste et Innocent (AMI) in collaboration with the parish launched the Active Nonviolence Club with a group of 55 young people, 17 young men and 38 young women.
In his opening speech, the Karama parish priest expressed appreciation for the work of AMI and pledge support so that the goals of the project are realized. The young members of this Active Nonviolence Club come from groups of Catholic movements within the parish. They promised active participation during throughout the training in order to become peacebuilders.
Youth Training in Burundi 2020
In Burundi, the Centre Jeunes Kamenge (CJK), a member of the Pax Christi International in the Great Lakes Region of Africa, organised a youth camp on “Peace and Reconciliation: Every young person is a promise of life.” In total there were 720 participants, of which nearly 300 were young women. Activities included prayer, neighbourhood visits to do construction and cleaning projects for vulnerable people, and afternoon training sessions on different themes, including active nonviolence, sexual health among young people, protection of the environment, and entrepreneurship. Of course, the young people also enjoyed moments together for sport and music. Here are a few photos, to see many more please visit us on Flickr or Facebook.
Testimonials from the Great Lakes
We’re making a difference! Beneficiaries of our project in the Great Lakes region have sent some wonderfully inspiring testimonials about the impact of Pax Christi International in their lives. We have posted all of them on YouTube, or click below to watch.
March 8, International Women’s Day
Tribute to religious sisters in the war-torn region of the Great Lakes in Africa
March 8, International Women’s Day, is an opportunity to support these women who care for people who have endured atrocities. The religious sisters introduced below extend often the only aid and social structures to which vulnerable people and victims of violence have access. Pax Christi International provides these women with the means to make a difference through training in active nonviolence. Thanks to this support, these sisters improve the care of victims and open up new perspectives on a less violent and more serene world.
Send a message of support to these sisters and give your encouragement : firstname.lastname@example.org
More than 20 years of war and armed conflict have weakened the civilian population of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. In particular, women, girls and children are most often the victims of all forms of violence (rape, theft, poverty, forced displacement, extortion, looting, physical, economic and moral violence as well as all kinds of barbarities) committed by men who wield firearms and knives.
Most often, these victims find refuge with religious communities, who are sometimes also victims of the same barbarity. They generally offer the necessary help and are obliged to be attentive to all miseries.
In fact, the programs administered by the religious sisters — hospitals, health centers, maternity wards, nutritional centers, schools, etc. — are generally the only social structures used by vulnerable people and victims, particularly in rural areas.
The religious sisters who are in contact with these bruised populations are often exhausted, due to the ongoing requests for help. The misery and cries of anguish of the populations who receive their services also affect them at different levels.
Pax Christi International offers training on the themes of active nonviolence, peace building, and trauma healing that is important and necessary for religious sisters engaged in coaching and support for neighboring communities and victims of violence across the DRC, particularly in the most affected areas of eastern Congo.
Training gives tools, knowledge, and methods that can help them in their programs and in the care of women and girls who have survived terrible violence, particularly in conflict zones where armed groups are raging.
This is a means of healing for the sisters themselves and also a capacity building on active nonviolence, to support and improve the care of victims.
Training on trauma healing for sisters in conflict zones in DR Congo
This week, the regional Africa Coordinator of Pax Christi International, Mr Serakabuza, is organizing a training for religious sisters in the Democratic Republic in Congo, in skills and methods to deal with victims of violence, in particular girls, children and women. Our partners are the Episcopal Commission for the Institute of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life (CEIS) and the Dynamique Femme pour la Paix of the Episcopal Justice and Peace Commission.
DRC has experienced more than 20 years of war and armed conflicts that have not only weakened the entire civilian population, but also negatively impacted their stability especially among women, girls and children. Women and girls are often victims of all forms of violence (rape, theft, poverty, forced displacement, extortion, looting, physical, economic and moral violence…). They often seek refuge in religious communities who are committed to assist and take care of victims of violence across the country. Sometimes, sisters themselves are victims of violence . Hospitals, health centers, schools, etc. – run by religious sisters –are generally the only social structures where vulnerable people and victims of violence can go, especially in rural areas. The sisters are often exhausted. By helping victims and listening to their stories, sisters often absorb their pain and this affects them on different levels. The training on active nonviolence, peacebuilding and trauma healing is meant as a way of healing for religious sisters and as a way of strengthening and improving their support capacities.
Great Lakes: Instability continues but partner projects provide hope
From 15-18 January, the Standing Committee of the Association of Episcopal Conferences of Central Africa (ACEAC) held their annual session in the Amani Spiritual Center in Bukavu, DR Congo.
During this meeting, also attended byDieudonné Serukabuza, Pax Christi International’s Africa Regional Coordinator, the bishops discussed the major challenges affecting thethree ACEAC countries of the Great Lakes sub-region (Burundi, DR Congo and Rwanda).
They discussed mechanisms for the protection of minors and vulnerable people against abuse, including by clergymen, and analyzed the worrying social situation caused by persistent insecurity in certain areas, in particular in Eastern Congo and on the borders of the three countries. In this area, many families live below the poverty line, and the Ebola virus and torrential rains are causing significant material damage including homelessness and deaths.
The bishops appealed to the conscience of politicians to show solidarity with those who are suffering, to keep at heart and in mind their duty to provide security to the populations, and to work for their prosperity of peoples who must be able to fully enjoy their rights as human beings.
Thankfully, many people, local communities and organisations are giving their help, striving for a better future for the people.
Pax Christi International has launched a joint cross border program in the three countries of Great Lakes region, with the aim of educating young people on active nonviolence and peacebuilding, and assisting disadvantaged youth in creating small scale businesses. All these projects are under the umbrella name “Empowering new generations on active nonviolence and entrepreneurship”. (Info here).
Dieudonné Serukabuza made a field visit to some projects, including the small scale businesses.
Pax Christi Bukavu, member of the Pax Christi network in the Great Lakes region, co-manages a project in which 10 young boys and girls have built a little farm with pigs and a shop in which they sell bags of flour.
SPR (Synergie des Femmes pour la Paix et la Réconciliation des Peuples des Grands Lacs d’Afrique), another member of network in Bukavu, is accompanying young people in selling coal.
Africa Reconciled in Goma (DRC) is giving advices and assisting a group of young people who are making and selling bread through their bakery business.
UPDDHE, Jeunes artisans de la Paix, is engaged with a project that involves 20 young people in breeding pigs.
Dieudonné’s last stop was in Goma visiting the Catholic Agency for Overseas Development (CAFOD) and the Diocesan Commission for Justice and Peace (CDJP).
All these experiences are signs of light in a territory severely tested by constant natural and human-made disasters which have contributed to a fragile social situation. It is important to continue to be present bringing relief to these affected populations.
La stabilité chasse la violence
HISTOIRE DE SUCCÈS
PROJET D’APPUIS DES NOUVELLES GÉNÉRATIONS À LA NON-VIOLENCE ACTIVE ET L’ENTREPRENEURIAT
Dans le cadre du programme de la région “des Grands Lacs” d’Afrique, et plus particulièrement dans le nord Kivu (RDC), Pax Christi International et Africa Reconciled forment avec succès des jeunes à la non-violence active et à l’entreprenariat. Les objectifs de ce programme sont de permettre aux jeunes de devenir eux-mêmes des formateurs mais aussi des ambassadeurs de la non-violence active dans leurs communautés, de développer et d’aider ces jeunes à la découverte d’activités génératrices de revenus et de mettre ensuite sur pied leurs projets d’entreprise.
La formation à la non-violence active se fait à travers des “clubs de la paix” ouverts à tous. Ces clubs se trouvent au sein d’écoles, d’universités, de communautés de jeunes ou d’églises. Au total, 600 filles et garçons de 16 à 35 ans ont bénéficié de la formation sur la non-violence active et le leadership.
Parmi ces personnes, 235 jeunes ont été sélectionnés sur base de critères objectifs pour suivre une formation complémentaire en entreprenariat. Le résultat est incontestable, plus de 100 d’entre eux ont transformé leurs projets en de vraies entreprises performantes. Aujourd’hui, ces jeunes ont une vision optimiste de l’avenir. Ils sont devenus des acteurs importants de la stabilité pour leur entourage. En tant qu’artisans de la paix, ils essayent d’influencer, de transformer leurs communautés vers une culture basée sur la non-violence. Ce changement permet aux communautés de se développer progressivement vers une société positive, prospère et non-violente.
Swedish Minister visits Pax Christi International’s Member Organisation -Africa Reconciled in Goma/ DRC, 16th Nov 2019
Thanks to the support provided by Pax Christi International, Africa Reconciled (member organisation of Pax Christi International) was able to carry out actions of peace building, youth entrepreneurship, the promotion of democracy and respect for human rights in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Africa Reconciled was recently selected by the Carter Center as an organization for the implementation of Youth Centre activities in the City of Goma. On the 16th of November 2019, Africa Reconciled received the Swedish Minister for International Cooperation to evaluate the impact of the Youth Project Initiatives supported by his country.
You can find more pictures here.
‘Training on Entrepreneurship’ – Africa Reconciled in Goma DRC
This week (21st October – 25th October 2019) PCI sponsored its member organizations to finance the entrepreneurship of youth groups. One of them –Africa Reconciled, in Goma, DRC organized the training of one youth group (11 members) on entrepreneurship before starting their income generating activities. The training took place as part of the ‘Empowering new generations on active nonviolence and entrepreneurship’, program that was conducted by the Trainers who had previously gone through the ‘Training of Trainers’ program.
After this training, the participants will be in a position to start and operate the ‘breeding of pigs’ business.