Peace Direct is delighted to be one of the five winning submissions in the BridgeBuilder Challenge 2017, a global competition that recognises innovative and impactful initiatives tackling some of the world’s most urgent problems. Our project is supporting ex-combatants affected by war in DR Congo to produce ethical and environmentally friendly gold through local cooperatives.
Conflict is a normal part of life. Violence is not. This story is of 15-year-old Benedict*. Benedict was captured by a local militia group and forced to become a child soldier. But he knew this was wrong. One day, Benedict found the courage to escape. Now he is back home, earning a living and helping to put his younger sister through school.
For many living in war-torn DR Congo, access to fast and effective justice is rare. Local disputes over land, farming or marriage can quickly escalate to wider violence that feeds into complex local conflicts. This leaves people without ways of resolving their conflicts peacefully and can entrench dangerous cycles of violence. Here, FOCHI’s Peace Courts are having a big impact for people on the ground.
Daniel Tamene, our Programme Finance Manager, recently travelled to the Democratic Republic of Congo to visit our partner Centre Resolution Conflits (CRC). He accompanied CRC into the bush to see first-hand the negotiation process they manage every time they rescue and resettle child soldiers. Here is Daniel’s exclusive report from the field.
In war-torn eastern Congo an area almost the size of Ireland has virtually no access to justice, because the police and legal systems are distant, slow, expensive or simply corrupt. To solve this problem, our partner Fondation Chirezi (FOCHI) has established a system of village courts or ‘barazas’, which cover a population of 70,000 people in South Kivu.