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Chico, Laura Shipler and Paule, Uwimana Marie (2005). Peace Cannot Stay in Small Places Africa Great Lakes Initiative

“Peace cannot stay in small places,” said Ndagijimama Abdon, an elder Gacaca judge in Gisenyi, “it is good when peace reaches everywhere.” Abdon’s message of hope and expectation is characteristic of what we found as we traveled Rwanda to evaluate the impact of the Alternatives to Violence Project (AVP) on Rwanda’s slow recovery from genocide. As we interviewed more and more people, we began to feel that AVP is gaining momentum here in Rwanda. Again and again, interviewees issued a clarion-call for AVP to continue, to reach into every corner of the country, into every heart. Every person needs AVP, interviewees said again and again. Blanket our communities, reach every Gacaca judge, every leader, every genocide survivor. Go into the prisons and work with those who have been accused of genocide. Take AVP to our neighboring countries and help our region find peace. To the participants in this evaluation, AVP is not just a series of workshops that stays confined to small meeting rooms. Though AVP starts as a short three-day workshop, it inevitably ripples outward reaching small corners of each life in unexpected ways. Now in Rwanda, 4 years after the program was introduced here, AVP is beginning to feel like a movement: a movement of hope, of healing, of slow reconciliation, of possibility. (excerpt)


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