Democratic Republic of Congo: Les Amis de Nelson Mandela pour la Defense des Droits Humains launches nonviolence, entrepreneurship project in Kinshasa

 

23/8/18 - "Strengthening New Generations on Active Nonviolence and Entrepreneurship" is the title of the project that Les Amis de Nelson Mandela pour la Defense des Droits Humains (ANMDH) officially launched on 7 August in the city of Kinshasa with the support of Pax Christi International, in collaboration with the following partner organisations: LIFDED, CIAM and CENJP. Prior to this official launch, there were preliminary activities, including: preparatory meetings with heads of schools, universities and colleges, youth movements, and churches.

This action is not limited only to Kinshasa, but it extends throughout the countries of the African Great Lakes sub-region (DR Congo, Rwanda and Burundi), through a synergy of 16 organisations:

  • AMI in Rwanda, specifically in Butare
  • CJK and Nduwamahoro NVA, in Burundi, specifically in Bujumbura
  • Africa Reconciled in the DRC, specifically in Goma
  • NSF in the DRC, specifically in Bukavu
  • CDJP, ANMDH and Lotus Group operating in the DRC, specifically Kisangani
  • RJMP in the DRC, specifically in Kananga
  • LIFDED, ANMDH, CIAM and CENJP in the DRC, specifically in Kinshasa
  • And the 4 antennae of Pax Christi in Butembo, Uvira, Bukavu and Kikwit, all in the Democratic Republic of Congo

The action that began in March 2018 will go until 2020. It targets youth in public and private institutions of higher and secondary education, in parishes, as well as movements reaching thousands of young people.

Objectives pursued by the action

The overarching goal is to train youth from the Great Lakes region on active nonviolence, peacebuilding and peaceful conflict transformation, and on entrepreneurship.

In a specific way, for ANMDH, the action aims to:

  1. Create a group of men and women trained in active nonviolence who will provide in turn trainings on the same topics in schools and youth movements;
  2. Support a group of disadvantaged unemployed youth to start Income Generating Activities (IGAs);
  3. Strengthen its cooperation with other members of the Pax Christi Network in the Great Lakes in terms of communication, information exchange, joint decision-making on common issues to build a common vision and strengthen our capacity for collaboration.

Background

The African continent currently has 1.2 billion inhabitants with 200 million people ages 15-24. Africa has the youngest population in the world. Demographically, there is a youth boom in many parts of Africa, including the Great Lakes region. However, there is a low representation of young people in the political sphere. According to the World Bank, young people represent 60% of all unemployed Africans. It should be noted that these World Bank statistics on unemployment in Africa do not take into account precarious employment and underemployment in the informal sector. The World Bank continues to worry about the very high rate of unemployment and insecurity in the Great Lakes Region. While in Burundi nearly 65% of young people are unemployed, and in Rwanda they are nearly 42%, in the DRC the estimates are 80% of young people who are unemployed.

This situation of extreme unemployment opens the door to other evils affecting the Great Lakes Region, including the insecurity that affects the political and social conflicts between different components of Congolese society. The city/province of Kinshasa is not spared these conflicts which create a social divide and which push young people to adopt violent attitudes between them as well as towards the leaders.

In  order to put an end to this infernal cycle of conflicts in the Democratic Republic of Congo in general and in the city of Kinshasa in particular, the Catholic Church, through these nonviolent initiatives, devotes its considerable moral, ecclesial and financial resources to the promotion of nonviolence and just and integral peace.

Convinced of the relevance of Pax Christi International's commitment to educating and training generations of peace practitioners in the tools and strategies of active nonviolence, Les Amis de Nelson Mandela pour la Defense des Droits Humaines launched the project entitled "Strengthening new generations on active nonviolence and entrepreneurship in Kinshasa" in order to create a group of men and women trained in active nonviolence.

Partners in action

In addition to the 16 organisations mentioned above, Pax Christi International and PAX (Netherlands) provide us with technical and financial support for the implementation of the project. For those who want to know more, Pax Christi International is the Global Catholic Peace Movement with 120 member organisations around the world that promotes peace, respect for human rights, justice and reconciliation around the world. Its main purpose is to create and strengthen the culture of peace and reconciliation. Pax Christi is committed to the practice of active nonviolence on the path to just peace, and promotes nonviolent practices and strategies among its members as a key common element.

Pax Christi International has a long presence in Africa, networking with and through more than 35 member organisations in 13 African countries, including 16 organisations based in the Great Lakes subregion.

For this program, Pax Christi International provides overall coordination and works with these 16 Pax Christi Network member organisations in the Great Lakes region.

Main activities

  • Preparatory meeting and ownership of the project (August 2018);
  • Design and production of animation cards and promotional material (August 2018);
  • Meeting with the heads of schools, universities, parishes and youth movements, in their respective communities (August 2018);
  • Exchange session with the heads of schools, universities, parishes and youth movements, at the ANMDH office (August 2018);
  • Training sessions for youth movements, every 2nd and 4th Saturday of each month (August and September 2018);
  • Training sessions in schools, universities and higher institutes (October 2018 to January 2019);
  • Selection and training of a youth group for entrepreneurship/IGA (October 2018);
  • Granting of a microcredit, implementation and monitoring-evaluation of the IGA (November 2018 to January 2019);
  • Media coverage and organisation of radio and television broadcasts and print media (August 2018 to February 2019);
  • Organisation of the monthly evaluation meetings (August 2018 to February 2019).

Expected results and impact

At the end of the project, we expect to achieve the following concrete results and impact:

  • Youth trained in active nonviolence will adopt the culture of active nonviolence as a way of life based on cultural and evangelical values;
  • Young people trained on active nonviolence will be imbued with positive values, so they will no longer engage in armed groups or violent political militias;
  • Trained youth will influence other young people and their respective communities, thus contributing significantly to the restoration of a culture of peace, reconciliation, tolerance in each country of the region and peaceful coexistence;
  • Thanks to the microcredit system, a group of 9 to 15 unemployed young people will become economically independent thanks to the establishment of income-generating activities (IGAs);
  • Finally, the Pax Christi network in the Great Lakes region will be supported and strengthened in its ability to communicate between members and to work together at the sub-regional level.

 

Democratic Republic of Congo, DRC, Great Lakes, Africa, Strengthening new generations on active nonviolence and entrepreneurship, les Amis de Nelson MANDELA pour la Défense des Droits Humains, ANMDH, Kinshasa