DRC: Beyond the crisis in the Great Lakes: perspectives of action for peace, rehabilitation and reconstruction of Zaire

Context:

Since the early 1990s, the Great Lakes-Central Africa has entered a multifaceted crisis. The 1994 genocide in Rwanda, the deadly clashes that prevail there and in Burundi since then, and more recently the war in Zaire have shattered the fragile equilibrium of this strategic region of Africa. Of course, the roots of the problems are longstanding and complex. By cons, given the changes in the international and regional stage, the current crisis is taking new forms. New players, both local and international, are facing each other. War, especially, takes on new colors, those of ethnicity, militias, banditry, on a background of social and economic disintegration, and where civilians are taken into hostage. According to Mary B. Anderson, "the battlegrounds are (now)" in space of everyday life and the line between the combatants and civilians blur and disappear ". Massive population movements aggravate and polarize an already very dangerous, and against them traditional forms of mediation, negotiation and management of the crisis seem useless.

Throughout the disaster, however, glimmers of hope are emerging. On the regional and international levels, some colonial powers are less able to determine the evolution of things by a process of destabilization in the short term. Within countries, new generations of political leaders and civil take more place. At the micro level, communities are forced to take in hand. This process is invisible, but from this mobilization can emerge real solutions. Mary Anderson: "Local capacities for peace always do exist, even in the worst situations of war (...) in people, in people's actions, their attitudes, and the processes and systems they engages in normal life."

In short, from the current chaos emerged a number of tracks on which the reconstruction and rehabilitation in a context of peace, may develop. These prospects are long-term because it will take time to repair the damage and enable Africans themselves to rebuild their country.

Objectives:

  • Identify an area of prime concern;
  • Map the community resources available and the strengths and weaknesses of local groups;
  • Develop an emergency assistance project for Alternatives that takes into account the expertise and methodology provided by the participation of Local Capacities for Peace Project;
  • Allow the LCPP file a book entitled Analysis: Portrait of prospects and potential action for peace in the region.

Achievements:

The project is to develop new conceptual and programmatic mechanisms, through a fairly extensive research on local and regional realities, to be made on the ground in connection with key stakeholders. The approach aims to address a number of specific issues key to the realization of humanitarian projects and to support a general level of analysis of the situation by paying particular attention to the situation of women in their current role and in the virtual rehabilitation and reconstruction.

This is done at several levels simultaneously, with powers up and training at the level of civil society organizations, international agencies. Research centers existing locally or elsewhere in the world. This will help to contextualize a more appropriate environment which apply the concrete results of the mission.

The assumptions verified by the mission allows us to consider, in later phases, a program of reconciliation and peacemaking, embodied in various projects educations and information by which civil society will rebuild a prospect of peace and means and strategies to facilitate the return of displaced and refugee populations. Obviously, this phase cannot be precisely defined for now. It is also understood that it should be developed taking into account the many stakeholders of places: national and multilateral agencies, NGOs, etc..

The mission visited the cities and surrounding areas of Goma, Bukavu, Lubumbashi, Kisangani and Kinshasa. In each of its locations, local authorities, community groups, churches and institutions of the United Nations are met.

To maximize the project, it will be publicized and made available with concerned groups (CIDA, international agency, NGO).

Year: 
1997 - 1998
Locations: 
Congo (Kinshasa)