African Great Lakes 

AVP Workshop with Burundian Refugees in Lusenda Camp

By Innocent NUNDA WA NUNDA

Closing group picture with certificates

Program organizer for the workshop:  AVP/South-Kivu Facilitator s committee under the coordination of INITIATIVES POUR LA RECONCILIATION COMMUNAUTAIRE (INIREC asbl organization).

Country:  Democratic Republic of Congo, DRC

Date : 21st to 23rd April 2021

Workshop type : Alternatives to Violence Project (AVP), Basic level workshop

Facilitators

  1. Innocent NUNDA WA NUNDA
  2. NDALE MTEMBWA Madelab
  3. ASSANI BAHELANYA John

Person Submitting the report :  Innocent NUNDA WA NUNDA 

Number of perticipants: 20 participants: 7 men, 7 women and 6 young adults

Participants’ description : Burundian Refugees in Lusenda Refugee Camp, members of refugee host community, local leaders, members of civil society, representatives of National Commission for Refugees (CNR)

Venue : Lusenda Burundian Refugee camp in Fizi territory, South Kivu, DRC

Brief description of the workshop Requirement : Since the arrival of Burundian refugees in the territory of Fizi in 2015 and their installation in Lusenda Refugee Camp, there have been conflicts, tension and violence between refugees and the host community.  These have arisen out of disputes over cultivable land, destruction of refugees’ fields by goats and pigs belonging to host community , and certain prejudices against characteristics attributed to the refugees by the host community.  Conflict has also arisen between refugees and the Organisation of Humanitarian Aid due to delay in the distribution of food and follow up to refugees, and more. Many manifestations of violent conduct by refugees have been observed almost every year in the Camp.

Regrouping

Comments of Facilitators on the workshop : The workshop was well facilitated and the participants interacted a lot on the lessons on the Agenda. At the end of this three day workshop, the participants had become aware of other forms of violence that they once commented on out of ignorance.  And participants, finally, discovered that in each person there is a power which can transform conflict situations or violence into cooperative and peaceful interactions. The participants affirmed that with the knowledge learned in AVP , they will strengthen the level of acceptance of others, strengthen the level of confidence and tolerance between the refugees and the host community and between refugees and humanitarian aid organisations.  They affirmed that they will thus prevent or reduce violent incidents in the Camp, in the village of Lusenda, and the surrounding people.

Strength

  • We have well-experienced AVP facilitators committed to peace,
  • Location of village and intervention zone facilitators.
  • We have tools for good facilitation (AVP Manuals, AVP care values, etc.)
  • Have good collaboration with local leaders, other civil society, and international aid organisations for refugees.

Challenges : 

  • Insufficient funds for covering other training needs, especially the transport fees for participants and for facilitators, and catering to facilitators during team building.
  • The state of dilapidation of the road does not facilitate arrival and departure of facilitators in good condition.

Participants Testimonies:

IRADUKUNDA YVETTE, (woman, 39 years, refugee): From today on, I am well convinced  that I have Transforming Energy in me.  This is because in 2017, my elder brother, our first born, had violent conflict with his wife , and this to the point of separating. But I got involved and took my time to advise them, and now they live together in peace. When I did that work to provide advice to this couple, I did not know what pushed me to engage myself in that process of building peace in that family. Now, through this training, I understand that it was the Transforming Energy which I have in me ; according to me, I can define it as the inner force which pushes someone toward peace, to do good.

BUTUBA MLALA, (man, 54 years,  Lusenda village local leader):  I thank the organisers of this workshop which opened me to certain knowledge that I didn’t have before. I understand that most of the conflicts and tension among us, the Host community and refugees, don’t have reason to be because they were born from prejudice, lack of tolerance, rumors and unnecessary suspicions. What I retained is that we must be tolerant  toward others, not trust rumors, and we must accept others so that we live in peace.  Peace is advantageous for all of us, people, host community and refugees.

Recommendations for going forward:

The participants appreciated the approach of AVP.  They have suggested that we multiply other workshops for refugees and host community as they believe that the AVP approach will contribute to the reduction of conflicts, tension and violence observed among refugees and the host community and between refugees and the humanitarian organisation workers in the Lusenda refugee camp.