Africa is our motherland – a place blessed with beauty and natural wealth. Many have written and said that Africa is the future, they did not lie. Unfortunately, like a mother in the hands of ruthless fathers (leaders) and unkind relatives (other African countries), Africa weeps. The most recent events which are still close to our hearts is the Burundi Crisis that prompted us as citizens of Africa to stand with Burundi in prayer and more importantly not stay silent. We asked you to join the #UmvaBurundi cause, you can still do so.
A few weeks towards the end of 2015, we were introduced to the Peace Building Institute and conference and that led us to holding a Saturday Talk Ug (Twitter Trending discussion under hashtags #SaturdayTalkUg and #UmvaBurundi). Every time we asked people to do something about the Burundi crisis, many would wonder, “How can I, being an ordinary citizen, help?” Nothing is worse than seeing an injustice against a people and feeling so helpless because, alone you are weak.
During the Peace Building Conference which happened in Rwanda with representatives from Uganda, Somalia, South Sudan, Kenya, Tanzania, Rwanda and Burundi, we discovered that, the same way youth were instrumental in acting as catalysts for the genocide, they can do the same for peace. The conference attendees were taught on how to detect genocide or conflict tendencies and how to be active citizens who put their leaders in check.
Dr Joseph Ryarasa a doctor by training and human rights activist said that, we need to use the right tools and engage the key players. The Peace Building Conference, according to Dr Ryarasa Joseph, was aimed at reflecting on the he 1994 Genocide committed against the Tutsi. During the conference, there were visits to Gizoi Memorial Grounds among others. Basing on the feedback shared by those in attendance, the conference equipped them to detect genocide tendencies and got trained to be peace building ambassadors in their home countries.
When asked what lessons Burundi, Africa and the rest of the world can learn from the Rwanda, Dr Ryarasa Joseph said that with good governance society can prosper.
In order to ensure an end to the constant chaos and conflicts in Africa, this conference should be replicated in many other nations of Africa.
Here are some more pictures from the Peace Building Conference.