Search for Common Ground Burundi

Linked with Christine Ntahe – Burundi.

Founded in 1982, Search for Common Ground works to transform the way the world deals with conflict – away from adversarial approaches and towards collaborative problem solving. We work with local partners to find culturally appropriate means to strengthen societies’ capacity to deal with conflicts constructively: to understand the differences and act on the commonalities.

In the aftermath of the Rwandan genocide in 1994 and in response to ongoing instability in the Great Lakes Region, Search for Common Ground (SFCG) opened its first office in Africa in 1995 in Burundi’s capital Bujumbura. With satellite offices in Ngozi and Makamba, SFCG in Burundi operates a national programme that uses a variety of mutually enhancing methods targeting multiple sectors of society. Through community peace-building and media work, SFCG in Burundi informs and educates the public about pertinent issues, builds the capacity of journalists and civic leaders, and strengthens the potential for inclusive participation in local communities. SFCG in Burundi consists of the radio-production facility Studio Ijambo, the Community Outreach Team, and the Victims of Torture Project.

Throughout the 1990s, a civil war fought mainly along ethnic lines raged in Burundi and ultimately claimed the lives of nearly 300,000 people. The signing of the Arusha Peace Agreement in August of 2000 laid the foundation for a stabilising domestic security situation in most of the country and, in August 2005, former Hutu rebel leader Pierre Nkurunziza was elected president becoming the nation’s first democratically elected president since 1993.

Through efforts at power-sharing, democratic elections and a commitment to dialogue at all administrative levels, most of the country is now at peace. Ethnic tensions persist, however, following years of conflict between Hutus and Tutsis. Established in 2004, the United Nations Operation in Burundi (ONUB) has worked with the government and people of Burundi to secure a lasting peace, but as ONUB’s mandate closes (as of 1 July 2006) and multinational forces withdraw from the country, significant challenges remain. It is within this context that SFCG in Burundi works to facilitate dialogue and reconciliation among Burundians and construct the foundation for a more peaceful and prosperous future.

PROGRAMME OVERVIEW

How You Can Help

links:

Studio Ijambo;

‘Heroes Summit’ in Africa … on commondreams;

on Ziggy Marley discussion board.

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