2,632 incidents were reported by a network of citizen reporters from across 18 provinces of the country
130 citizen reporters were able to respond effectively to violence thanks to the targeted training they received on reporting, monitoring and response, giving local peacebuilders the resources and support to respond to violence before it takes root. This helped inform the international community of the violence across the country and the need to maintain an ongoing focus on resolving the conflict.
In eastern DRC, numerous armed groups and militias attacked civilians, killing and wounding many and destabilising an already fragile situation.
In 2018, we continued to support local partners to rebuild trust, understanding and community life throughout areas affected by conflict. From supporting the reintegration of child soldiers, to setting up violence response committees, together we supported families and community-led initiatives, and strengthened livelihoods through agricultural training. We worked with our partners Centre Résolution Conflits, Fondation Chirezi and the Beni Peace Forum across several locations in the conflict affected regions of Ituri, North Kivu and South Kivu. We helped those affected by war to rebuild their communities and become more resilient to violence in numerous ways.
279 men and 339 women participated in activities enabled by grants provided by our local partner.
We worked with WANEP-Mali to support 40 local organisations collaborating on a range of peacebuilding projects across the country, including training 353 people in designing, managing and implementing their peacebuilding projects. The projects included conflict management training for women and for herders and farmers, bringing local citizens from different ethnic communities together for ‘reconciliation assemblies’, local radio debates, and a ‘women and girls for peace’ project.
255 young people received practical skills training, in trades ranging from mechanics to tailoring.
Talks on peacebuilding, leadership skills and community cohesion have helped young people find a way to address anger nonviolently.
“Through controlling our temper we can control peace. This leads to inner peace, and also outside. In our home and our community.”
Our local partner supported 28 people in their ‘Youth Peace Network’, providing training on peacebuilding and countering violence and violent ideologies in their communities.
Before Aware Girls' training, 72% of young people said it is okay to use violence as a political tool. After the training, the figure is 4%.
Since their training, only 7% of young people believe Jihad should be part of the curriculum. The number before training was 73%.
“My entire family became combatants - my parents and my brothers. I was 11 years old then. In 2005, I was one of the military trainees. I know how difficult it is for a combatant, it is always a matter of life and death. The activities that I attended with KI confirmed that other than war there are other ways to resolve conflict, that there is a peaceful way that would not result in killings and destruction of property. Today I would strongly say no if someone were to recruit me to become a fighter again.”
– A former fighter who is now a mother to three children, training other participants from Butig village.
In 2018 we supported Social life and Agricultural Development Organisation to help vulnerable young people to build sustainable livelihoods, so that they have better alternatives than joining militias.
107 young people turned away from violence and took up vocational training on computer literacy and electronic repairing, and in basic business management.
Through photography, young women explored reconciliation and healing between different ethnic and faith groups.
“[As a Tamil woman] I never ever thought I could come to a part of the country where Sinhalese Buddhists live... If someone asked me to come to this area six months ago, I would feel anger and fear. I am from Killinochchi, one of the areas in the north most affected by conflict. But today, I am living, walking and taking photos in the middle of a village, and sleeping next to the temple. They [the Sinhalese Buddhists] are also like us. We are all suffering, wounds are deep, but as women, we can be the bridge makers of the broken communities. Cameras and our photos can be the cement and bricks that build the bridge”. – Debora, Killinochchi
Over the year, five ‘rapid response’ interventions were implemented by Peace Committees run by our local partner. These actions impacted an estimated 1,455 people by de-escalating conflict between herders and farmers and curbing the spread of hate speech against South Sudanese refugees in South Kordofan.
In 2018 we supported Zoom In in Syria to establish three Peace Committees in the municipalities of Idlib, Maara al-Nu’man and Jabal al-Sumaq, to help resolve disputes within and between communities non-violently.
36 community members from across the regions joined the committees and receiving training in advocacy, conflict resolution and negotiation.
In 2018 our partners launched a new project to promote peace around the elections, by helping traditional leaders to prevent violence and encourage their community members to vote peacefully, free from fear and intimidation.
“As leaders we have choices to make and I made my choice not to force people to go and vote under my watch so I can pass information to the politicians. We are the custodians of our land and should be able to tell politicians what to do and not them tell us what to do in our own land.”
Photo: Greg Funnell, Dania Ali/Stars Foundation/Aware Girls, International Citizen Service, Peace Direct.