Posted by Peace Direct on
Image credit: Charlotte, member of CRC's ex-combatant co-operative, Malangango.
We are proud to share that our partner of the last fifteen years, Centre Résolution Conflits in Democratic Republic of Congo, were recently awarded the UNESCO Madanjeet Singh Prize for the Promotion of Tolerance and Non-Violence*.
Centre Résolutions Conflits (CRC) is a grassroots organisation, working to build peace in the conflict-affected provinces of Ituri and North Kivu in eastern DR Congo. They work to tackle both the root causes and the effects of conflict, supporting communities to heal divides and build trust, and reintegrating child soldiers from armed militias – bringing them to safety and helping them to readjust to normal life.
Formed in 1993, against the backdrop of the ethnic conflict between the Lendu and Hema tribes, CRC set out to build a world of love, tolerance and mutual respect, based on a culture of peace and non-violence.
Over the years, CRC have worked with communities to understand the roots of conflict between them. With time, they learned more about the various causes of division and mistrust between different groups. Today, they train communities on conflict resolution and human rights, supporting them to run local ‘Peace Committees’ to resolve disputes in their early stages. Among many other activities, they also support ex-combatants to join agricultural and artisanal gold-mining cooperatives, and reintegrate into their communities.
CRC’s work to support former child soldiers to reintegrate into their communities has had particularly impressive results. Over the years, CRC has built trust with militia leaders, negotiating with them to bring back nearly 1,000 child soldiers. Children are supported to return to school, or learn professional skills through training in areas such as mechanics, hairdressing or carpentry; as well as training in financial management to help them sustain income and become independent.
For many children living amidst the destruction of violent conflict, taking up arms is one of the only livelihoods available to them. While life is hard growing up in the militia, young people are unable to see opportunities for them outside. CRC helps children reimagine their futures, by presenting them with new opportunities, and offering psychosocial support to deal with trauma.
We are immensely proud of CRC’s well-deserved achievement, and we look forward to seeing their work continue to grow and impact thousands more lives.
“By deciding to award the 2020 edition of the UNESCO-Madanjeet Singh Prize to the Centre for Conflict Resolution (CRC), UNESCO has not only honoured the work we started from scratch, but more importantly, it has proved to the world that gratitude still exists, even if it may take years.”
– Rehema Mussanzi, Coordinator – Centre Résolution Conflits.
The UNESCO-Madanjeet Singh Prize for the Promotion of Tolerance and Non-Violence is awarded every two years to individuals or institutions for their exceptional contributions to the promotion of tolerance and non-violence through the arts, education, culture, science and communication. The laureate will receive US$ 100,000.
The prize is named after its benefactor, former Indian artist, writer and diplomat, Madanjeet Singh (1924-2013), who was also a UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador.
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