Chirezi Foundation, DR Congo

Building hope and saving lives.

Project overview

The human cost of the war in Eastern Congo is horrifying. In the height of the violence many women suffered systematic rape at the hands of the armed groups and thousands of children were orphaned and left vulnerable.

Local peacebuilder Flory Kazingufu believes that as much of the violence in South Kivu now happens at the community level, any remedy for conflict must come from within these communities. Therefore Flory set up The Chirezi Foundation to ‘build peace and change lives’ by finding alternatives for these victims of war, the women and children and their communities.

For over a decade the warlords have promised heaven to their recruits – it is only through education that you can begin to challenge this promise - Flory Kazingufu

Flory makes use of a traditional structure of community forums called ‘Baraza’, to reach villages across South Kivu through the commitment of trained community volunteers of peace and community parliaments. These structures offer local people a way to handle the conflicts they face in everyday life, without violence.

Chirezi is one of three members of the new Grow Peace Fund. The Fund is specifically designed to give sustained support as the members grow over the coming months and years. Read more about the fund.

In Novemeber 2012, East DR Congo erupted in violence after the key city of Goma was seized the rebel M23 movement. Despite the turbulent situation, and even as as international organisations evacuate staff, Peace Direct partners in the region are continuing their vital peacebuilding work.

For more information, insight and analysis on the conflict in DR Congo, visit Insight on Conflict.

Making an impact

Flory works within the tribal structure asking each tribe to elect 5 people to be volunteers of peace, including women, youth and sometimes children. Each tribe then elects one person to be their member of the community parliament, or Baraza. The Baraza are being very well recieved and have become a place where all members of the community have a voice. Not only do they train volunteers to lead conflict resolution they also train women who have been raped and rejected by their communities in livelihood skills like sewing, so they can support themselves and their children.

Flory has set up five new ‘Clubs of peace’, this year – ready to intervene in conflict as needed. In just three months they successfully resolved 18 conflicts, involving militia groups and local communities to stop violence from breaking out and bring communities together. Read the story ofOmari’s struggle to live in peace after 10 years as a militia commander.

You can support Flory and help him to build peace and change lives.

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