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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

Executive Summary

I hated the people in Tanzania. Because I was here [in Rwanda] during the genocide, I saw the same things happening in both countries. I hated both places and was traumatized by what I saw. I am a genocide survivor. AVP has done a lot because I am a genocide survivor. They killed my family. When I went to Tanzania, I thought, “at least I am away from the people who killed my family.” But then I saw the same things happening there. I was afraid to come back to Rwanda and have to see the people who killed my family. But then I came to Nemba and took the AVP training—it was there that I learned to forgive. Now, when I go to Gitarama, where I used to live, I am able to talk with those people who killed my family. This is because of AVP.
-- Mukakibibi Patricia, Nemba

Rwanda, though continuing on the road of recovery, is challenged by the return of refugees from Western Tanzania. In an effort to address and alleviate the interpersonal conflict arising in the diverse resettlement camps set up by the Rwandan Government, the African Great Lakes Initiative of the Friends Peace Teams and the Friends Peace House (Urugo Rw’Amahoro), conducted thirty-one Alternatives to Violence Project (AVP) workshops in eastern Rwanda.

The resettlement camps in eastern Rwanda are comprised of returnees from Tanzania, though when and why they left Rwanda is the major factor sparking conflict in these new communities. Both Tutsi and Hutu returnees from Karagwe District of western Tanzania were placed together in these resettlement camps. The Tutsi had fled from 1959 when violence first began against them, while the Hutu fled during and after the genocide in 1994. In Tanzania they lived in separate refugee camps and many of the Tutsi felt that the Hutu could not return to Rwanda because they were implicated in the genocide. When Tanzanians forced all Rwandans to leave Tanzania and return to Rwanda, the Rwandan Government placed them together in resettlement camps in the eastern parts of Rwanda.

The Alternatives to Violence Project (AVP), an international volunteer movement dedicated to demonstrating the power of nonviolence through three-day experiential workshops that provide participants with the tools they need to respond positively to conflict. Following the thirty-one workshops in the Rwandan resettlement camps, this report was conducted as a way to evaluate the impact that AVP can have upon the specific issues at play in these displaced communities.

Through our interviews with almost sixty individuals in resettlement camps, we found that AVP had greatly contributed to the alleviation of anger and conflict in these camps, as well as increased the desire within these communities to actively seek healing and reconciliation. This report seeks to analyze how and why AVP encourages such transformation, and the immediate and long-term effects of such change. We also attempted to identify many of the challenges that AVP faces as it works against hunger, poverty and on-going resentment in resettlement camps. Ultimately we concluded that AVP may need to begin addressing both the material and emotional needs of communities that suffer from life-threatening conditions, either through coordination with other organizations or through its own initiative. A deeper understanding of what exactly AVP has to offer these displaced persons in Rwanda will help us apply the lessons and contributions of AVP more effectively in other parts of world in need of healing.

“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.

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