African Great Lakes 

AVP Workshop with Sange Transit Burundian Refugees

By Georges Bani Bibenga

Closing group picture with certificates

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

Country:  Democratic of the Republic of Congo (DRC)

Date : 22nd-24th April 2021

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

Facilitators

  1. Georges BANI BIBENGA
  2. MPENDA AMISI
  3. MIKUNINWA ASSUMANI MIKIN

The person submitting the report: Georges Bani Bibenga

Number of perticipants: 20 Participants : men: 07   women:   08    young adults : 05

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 : Sange Transit Burundian Refugee Camp in Territory of Uvira, South Kivu, DRC

Brief description of the workshop requirement : 

The Rusizi Plain in Territory of Uvira is increasingly a place of tension and conflict between host community and refugees in the centre of Sange Transit.  Everyone feels insecure.  Looting of vehicles using Road no. 5, kidnapping, violence, sexual assaults, and other human rights abuses are among the many forms of violence registered in that area. First, the local population accused refugees of  authoring all kinds of violence and of causing insecurity in that place.  On the contrary, refugees say, they are not the authors.  In that context of mutual suspicion, from lack of mutual trust and weak communication between people from the host community and the refugees, we estimate that the teachings of AVP can help this population (host community and refugee community) to improve their communication and to build a constructive and non-violent relationship based on acceptance of oneself and others, tolerance , confidence and mutual collaboration to consolidate peace and security in their village and souroundings. 

Sharing excercise: A moment I resolved a conflict without violence…

Facilitators’ comments on the workshop: The workshop has been well attended by the participants. They wanted to learn thoroughly the knowledge shared in the workshop.  They improved their manner of communicating with others, and strengthened their confidence in members of the other community.  They built attitudes of acceptance and tolerance between people from the host community and the refugee community.

Participants affirmed that with the knowledge gained in AVP, they strengthened the level of acceptance, confidence and tolerance among people from the host community and the refugees, so this may prevent and reduce violence and insecurity incidences in the village of Sange and the surroundings.

The participants appreciated much the teaching methodology of AVP, especially the way of giving space and time to share their personal story and experience among participants. They believe that if the whole world (political authorities, security services, the military, policemen ,or other traditional leaders and population) in all levels can be trained in AVP, conflicts and violence can’t have place in DRC

Strength: 

  • Have well-experienced AVP facilitators committed to peace,
  • Have facilitators who speak different languages, especially Kirundi, Kifuliru and other local languages,
  • Have tools for good facilitation (AVP Manuals, AVP care values,  etc.),
  • Have good collaboration with local leaders, other civil society and international aid organizations for refugees.

Challenges :

  • Insufficient funds for covering other training needs, especially transportation costs for participants and facilitators and catering to facilitators during team building,…
  • Workshop on Saturday, which is the Sabbath for some participants.

Affirmation excerise

Participants Testimonies:

MUKESHIMANA CARINE, (woman, 41 years, refugee): I have learnt much during this training. I didn’t flee the war in Burundi, I ran away from the risk of losing my life in conflict with my brothers. Our conflict was based on sharing of the goods that our father had left us.  What changed in me is the feeling of pardon, tolerance, and patience.  Through this training I have understood the importance of pardon and living together in peace.  Today I live in bad conditions in the Transit camp because I was not ready to pardon and not ready for good communication with my brothers.  Also I was not aware of the importance of living in harmony.  I tell you that I must now go home and go ask pardon of my brothers.  Thank you for this training. »

KINDAKABWA RUSAKANA, (man, 45 years, Agent of National Commission for Refugees, CNR): “Je remercie les organisateurs de cet atelier de formation qui m’a ouvert à certaines connaissances que je ne connaissais pas. Je comprends que beaucoup de conflits et tensions entre nous la population d’accueil et les réfugiés n’ont pas la raison d’être par ce qu’ils sont nés plus des préjugés, de manque de tolérance, de rumeurs et de suspicions inutiles. Ce que j’ai retenu est que nous devons être tolérants les uns envers les autres, ne pas croire aux rumeurs, nous devons nous accepter et accepter les autres pour que nous vivons en paix”. I appreciate the organisors of this workshop which opened me  to certain knowledge that I didn’t have before. I realize now that many conflicts and tensions among refugees and people from the host community don’t have reason to be because they were born of prejudice, lack of tolerance , rumors and unnecessary suspicions. What I retained is that we must be tolerant towards others, not trust rumors.  We must accept ourselves and accept others so that we can live in peace.