Centre Résolution Conflits, DR Congo

Making peace last in DR Congo

Project overview

In the Democratic Republic of Congo (DR Congo), the second largest country in Africa, conflicts have raged for more than a decade killing over 5 million people and forcing 2.5 million people to abandon their homes. Here, local peacebuilder Henri Ladyi has dedicated his life to building a peace that will last.

Centre Résolution Conflits disarming rebel militia in DR Congo

Henri is the co-ordinator of local peacebuilding organisation Centre Résolution Conflits (CRC) based in the Eastern Congo, a region which has been most vulnerable to conflict. The CRC works to:

  • Rescue child soldiers and find a place for ex-militia members within communities and work with them to reintegrate into society, finding them work and supportive networks so that they will be able to leave violence behind them. The CRC understands that, although many boys and men who have been drawn into militia groups want to stop fighting, they often cannot see any other way.
  • Provide assistance to communities to manage the return of people forced to leave their communities during the conflict.
  • Help communities to reject violence in the long-term by supporting communities to help themselves through conflict prevention committees.

In November 2012, the Eastern DR Congo erupted in violence after the key city of Goma was seized by the rebel M23 movement. Despite the turbulent situation, and even as international organisations evacuate staff, Henri and the CRC continue their vital peacebuilding work.

Making an impact

Rescuing child soldiers and reintegrating ex-militia members

For the last ten years the CRC has worked tirelessly to achieve their goals. They have been able to rescue children who have been kidnapped by the militias to be used as child soldiers, continuously negotiating with the Mai-Mai militia groups to release captured children.

Much of what they do involves bravely reaching out to militias to encourage members to lay down arms. The CRC has found ways for the ex-militia members to become part of communities once more, integrating them into co-operatives that match their skills, such as farming or trading.

Keeping communities together

The CRC has played a vital part in keeping communities together. Those who have been forced to flee their villages have found assistance from the CRC who mediate between these refugees and their former communities, finding a safe way for people to return. They help communities to organise themselves and rebuild their damaged roads, markets and homes.

To encourage communities to help themselves, the CRC has a network of over 200 community radio clubs who listen to CRC broadcasts every week. The clubs use radio to share ideas about development and discuss issues like security, health and education.

The CRC also have a micro-credit loan scheme available to the most vulnerable people enabling them to find a living.

Building relationships and training people

The CRC assists communities to find alternatives to violence through its network of Task Forces and peace committees. The Task Forces mediate between the UN and militias and militia and communities, to help protect communities and with the safe return of refugees to their homes. These Peace Committees are able to respond to the many land conflicts that emerge as refugees return to their communities after many years of being away.

They also play the crucial role of monitoring and providing early warning for erupting conflicts, responding quickly to potentially violent situations. Because they are there on the ground living and working within communities every day, they can often gain a better understanding of what is happening than international agencies can.

Local peacebuilders make a difference

The CRC show how much can be done by local peacebuilders. In many ways, they can do more with a little money than international bodies can. Their work has helped many to find some peace in a place that has suffered from a very long period of conflict. They provide hope in a dark time by showing a way towards a lasting peace. When the immediate danger passes it is local peacebuilders like Henri and the CRC who stay behind to rebuild their communities.

But the CRC cannot do it alone.  To find out how you can support them and what your contribution can do, click here.

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