One way that determines GLPI impact is through the stories, testimonies, and initiatives shared by the alumni members who have participated in the GLPI trainings and are applying their learnings in their respective homes, organizations, and communities. It is important for GLPI to continue to encourage alumni connections and engagements.
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Mapenzi Munyagala Paulin
Communication and Advocacy Officer, Africa Reconciled
GLPI October 2017 Alumni
Paulin is currently in-charge of the communication and advocacy work of an organization in DRC called Africa Reconciled, which works with youth and women to develop their leadership potentials.
Being in-charge of communication and advocacy, he manages a radio program which discusses issues related to peaceful co-existence, active non-violence and conflict resolution in the Great Lakes Region. This radio program, which he calls a “peace program”, is broadcasted among four (4) radio stations in the North and South Kivu province in the eastern DRC. Apart from managing this radio program, he also works as a correspondent for the Congo Forum website, which is an online platform raising awareness on issues affecting the peace and security in DRC.
He said that through his GLPI trainings in October 2017, he found himself a new identity as a “peace journalist”, given also his involvements in different forms of mass media. He became more committed in prioritizing peace promotion in his work. He also became more encouraged to give platforms for young people to talk about their involvement in peacebuilding, including establishment of peace clubs.
He believes that the GLPI trainings he attended in 2017 gave him great awareness about conflict analysis, peacebuilding, trauma healing, and sustainable development. The GLPI trainings also gave him several innovative ideas such as producing photo stories and writing several articles that encourage peace.
“I just would like to continue sharing with others my experiences, especially for us who address post-conflict issues despite the challenges involved in our work”, he shared. “We must know that peace must be an everyday commitment by accepting other people regardless of backgrounds, because we are all the same children of God. This is my daily commitment as a peace journalist, and I owe much of my inspiration to GLPI”, he added.
National Coordinator, Friends Women’s Association
2016 Special Module Alumni (Reflective Peace Practice)
Parfaite is greatly involved in addressing gender-based violence (GBV) in Burundi. As such, she runs trauma healing workshops for GBV survivors through the Rape Survivors Support (RSS) program and organize them into self-help groups in order to collectively plan on economic opportunities to sustain their family needs. She shared how most Burundian women suffer in private homes because they are forced to become 100% economically dependent on their husbands without giving them the right to decide for their family’s welfare. By August 2018, the program was able to organize 20 self-help groups (comprising of 20 women per group), which is quite an accomplishment from starting with only 5 groups at the beginning of the year. Part of her work is coordinating a program called Action on Gender-Based Violence (AGBV) which is focused on involving religious leaders and locally elected leaders to take up on the role to prevent GBV in their respective communities.
Parfaite shared that GLPI had taught her to analyze a conflict well before intervening: “About the RSS program, we had been running trauma healing workshops. Then, we had to give small loans to women. They were not able to pay back. The result was that they could not come back to our center. They were again traumatized. Then, we started to organize trauma healing workshops only. After GLPI training, I have understood that we need to find another approach to empower women economically as this is the root cause of their suffering. Now, I am proud to have a total number of 400 women who are organized into self-help groups. This approach helps to increase their family income, but also it a good way to build relationships as they are meeting every week. They support each other if for instance one of them is hospitalized.”
Another learning she gained from GLPI is that efforts remain meaningless as long as the religious leaders and local administration are not involved in their initiatives. This is why since 2016, after the GLPI training, they have started to include them in their programs. “As a Pastor, some of my fellow religious leaders think that I have lost my pastoral call. For them, they interpret the Bible saying that women should submit to their husbands. For them, they interpret the Bible in a wrong way”, she said, believing that everyone has important role in respecting the rights of women in the family and in the society as a whole.
Peace Libraries Coordinator, Transformational Leadership Centre
2018 Special Module Alumni (Youth Peace Clubs)
Francine is working with the Transformational Leadership Centre (TLC) in Rwanda which works on peacebuilding and manages five (5) children’s peace libraries in the country. She coordinates these five peace libraries, and guides children who come to their libraries to read and borrow books. She works with several children from neighbouring schools by training them through “peace mediation” program, which is a program they promote to help young people acquire the skills to solve conflict issues among their peers. The peace mediation program allows them to also form peace clubs in schools where they are working with, and encourage students to be part of these peace clubs.
“Through the GLPI training on youth peace clubs, I have learned a lot about understanding the difference between conflict and violence, the implementation of peace clubs, the different ways in which we can respond to children’s behaviours, and the importance of non-violent communication as a conflict resolution tool”, Francine shared about her learnings from GLPI.
“I have started to mobilize teachers to stop violence by allowing corporal punishment among students. I have also used the discussions from GLPI to be able to produce stronger proposals that would give us more capacity to organize youth peace clubs in Rwanda,” she added.
Finally, she had this to say to encourage others: “I want to stay that peace is not an action of one people. It asks many people to work together. If we want sustainable peace, we need to teach the youth, and help them to live peacefully in their day to day life.”