Fourteen young people from the East African region were welcomed at Rwanda’s Parliament Friday morning.
The fourteen young adults from Burundi, Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda, South Sudan and Rwanda are participants in a two-week Peace Building Institute, hosted by Never Again Rwanda, which teaches young people how to foster peace in their own communities while learning from Rwanda’s experience.The Peace Building Institute participants got an up-close look at about Rwanda’s governance system, learning how the governing institution has been set up to deal with the country’s post-conflict challenges.
Eric Mahoro, Never Again Rwanda’s country director, said the Peace Building Institute participants will benefit from learning about Rwanda’s parliament because they can reflect on the governing structure when thinking about what they want to implement in their own communities.
“Participants, particularly those from post-conflict societies like Kenya or South Sudan, are very keen to learn what the Rwandan government has done and how citizens have reacted to it,”Mahoro said.
Participants learned about how legislative processes affect citizens, how citizens convey their feedback to the government and how the government takes this feedback into consideration when making laws. They also learn about the particular role the Parliament plays in post-genocide reconstruction, especially promoting reconciliation and development.”This will provide the foundation for the participants, so that they can reflect on their respective countries’ governance in their own post-conflict eras,” Mahoro said.
In addition to the visit to Parliament, Peace Building Institute Participants have visited the Kigali Genocide Memorial Centre in Gisozi, the National Commission for the Fight against Genocide, the King’s Palace Museum in Nyanza, the Ethnographic Museum of Rwanda in Butare and the Murambi Genocide Memorial near Huye.
Mandela Walter, a 24-year-old PBI participant from Uganda says the experience has helped him to gain a better understanding of human nature, particularly how ordinary people can become embroiled in vicious conflict.”Peace building, I believe, is the most fundamental way of containing this evil nature of man,”Walter says. Catherine Fidelis, a 23-year old participant from Tanzania, says Rwanda has given her a sense that even after the severest form of conflict, there can be successful recovery.
“There is hope after total darkness,”Fidelis says. “Now, where Rwanda is, it’s a good example of how humans can overcome evil and transform themselves into loving people.”
The 14-day Peace Building Institute will wrap up on Sunday and will send the young participants back to their homes with the mandate to be peace leaders and outstanding role models within their own communities.
In addition to hosting Peace Building Institutes twice a year for international and Rwandan participants, Never Again Rwanda inspires, mentors and encourages Rwandan youths to create small businesses, express their thoughts to leaders and become more involved in the policy-making process of their country.