Plant the seed of peace: Women peacebuilders in Rwanda

Photo credit: Ryan Anson for Interpeace

In late 2007, a pilot activity was launched by Interpeace and its Rwanda partner, the Institute of Research and Dialogue for Peace (IRDP). The Biba Amahoro project, which means ‘plant the seed of peace’ in Kinyarwanda, aims to strengthen the role of Rwandan women in peacebuilding efforts.

Five women have been chosen this year to be exposed to IRDP’s work and to other peacebuilding activities in the region. The goal of the pilot activity is to show them different initiatives and to help them develop peacebuilding initiatives in their own communities.

Each woman is an active community member. Each comes from a different part of the country and from a different background: there is a member of the local administration, teachers who are also engaged in IRDP’s activities as facilitators of a dialogue club or of a school club, an active civil society representative, and a young woman who manages an orphanage. In November 2007, they spent two weeks with the IRDP team where each woman was assigned to one of IRDP’s staff members and followed his/her activities. They also attended a forum of debate organized by IRDP.

In December 2007 they travelled to Kenya with the IRDP researcher responsible for the pilot activity. The Interpeace team in Nairobi exposed them the work of other peacebuilding organizations in Nairobi and in the Wajir region, in the North of Kenya. In Wajir they met local organizations working on conflict prevention with youth, women, religious leaders, and with elders. These organizations, which have more than a decade of experience in the region, gave inspiration to the Rwandan women about the kinds of projects they can develop within their own community.

A training event is planned for summer 2008 and they will develop the ideas for a micro-project that they want to develop in their community.

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