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.