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Your location>Home>Publications>PeaceWays>Spring 2009

   
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Executive Summary

Introduction

Context

AVP/Implementing Organization

Evaluation Methodolgy

Findings

Recommendations for the Futute

Conclusion

Appendices

Conclusion

“ It was after the AVP workshop that I started loving my country without fear”, said Mudaheramwa Cyprien. To be able to love Rwanda without fear, to love one’s neighbors, to forgive those who inflicted the wounds upon their hearts, and to live in peace within communities previously saturated with distrust and hatred, are impressive accomplishments. The individuals in the resettlement camps in eastern Rwanda have a unique experience of being Rwandan. Though many were not present in Rwanda in 1994, their understanding of fear and anger is no less potent and is coupled with the confusion and sorrow that accompanies displacement and loss. While this report speaks directly to the effect of AVP workshops on the resettlement camps we believe many of our findings can be projected to reflect the impact of AVP on Rwanda in general.

“ Some people say AVP came too late to Rwanda,” said facilitator Munyeragwe Epimaque, “and others say it has come at just the right time. I agree with the second group—AVP has been very important for us.” Regardless of timing, the fact of the matter is that AVP is here in Rwanda and there is no denying the change that AVP is bringing to communities all over Rwanda. AVP is gently taking those who have witnessed nothing but violence in their lives and leading them by the hand to a place in which those powerful alternatives to violence not only become visible, but attainable. The most indicative proof of the success of AVP is readily seen and heard in the cries for more AVP all across the country. “People are still hungry and thirsty for AVP,” continued Epimaque, and from what we heard in each camp, he is quite right. AVP has visibly improved life in Nemba, Ndego, Nasho and Kageyo. There is still much work to be done in these camps, and across the country as a whole. AVP approaches nonviolence with a patience that contributes to the strength of its message. Peace will come, but it will come person by person. AVP has been, and will continue to be, inspiring hope, encouraging change, and creating a sustainable peace in a country ready for a better future.

Acknowledgements

Thank you to all the people and organizations that made this evaluation possible. First and foremost, I am indebted to Pastor Nyatomba Emmanuel, who traveled with me to each of the three camps and was not only my translator, but without whom the interviews would not have been possible. Emmanuel and I also owe deepest thanks to the 59 men and women—participants, leaders and facilitators—whose words appear in this report. Each individual gave a great deal of their time to meet with us, and we are extremely grateful for their graciousness and openness throughout the process.

Another thank you goes to the staff of the Friends Peace House, especially Innocent Rwabuhihi and Josephine Mukangoga who coordinated the logistics of our trips to the camps. Friends Peace House also serves as the base for AVP in Rwanda and provided space for our Kigali-based interviews with AVP facilitators and for me to write this report. Thank you also to the African Great Lakes Initiative of the Friends Peace Teams and the Drane Family Fund of the New Hampshire Charitable Foundation that provided the funding and means enabling these workshops and this evaluation to take place. I also want to acknowledge the past reports of Laura Shipler Chico which have served as invaluable guides for me as I conducted interviews and compiled this report. I have borrowed directly from her report “Peace Cannot Stay in Small Places” for background and contextual information.

I am grateful for the funding I received from the Clarence and Lilly Pickett Endowment and from the Haverford College Center for Peace and Global Citizenship which made my time here in Rwanda possible. I would like to reiterate my gratitude to the men and women who were interviewed for this evaluation. It was humbling for me to be welcomed so warmly into their communities. I feel honored to have heard their stories and witnessed the tragedy of Rwanda through the eyes of those who have found a way to feel hope and love again. I have tried to include as many individuals as possible through direct quotation but there are some people whose voices are not directly noted here. Their thoughts, fears, hopes and requests have not gone unheard. Ultimately it is my hope that this evaluation can serve those communities by demonstrating the significance of AVP on reconciliation efforts in Rwanda and the continuing need for such peace-building efforts in the future. Emily Higgs

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