In the Great Lakes region of Africa, land is at the center of people’s livelihoods and identity. Land scarcity and ownership are key drivers of violent conflict in the area, often mitigated by local mediation mechanisms.
Traditionally, women’s participation in the mediation of land conflict has been very limited. Lately, they have been playing a growing role, thanks to the support of governments and traditional institutions.
To support the peaceful resolution of land conflicts, Search for Common Ground is partnering with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands on the project Strengthen Citizen Participation on Critical Social Issues to Prevent Land Conflict in the Great Lakes Region of Africa. To achieve the project’s goals, we are organizing exchanges between key land stakeholders–including government representatives, traditional leaders, and civil society organizations–from Burundi, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and Rwanda; building the skills of land actors in each country; and leading media initiatives.
As part of the project, we conducted 4 case studies focusing on the role of women in the mediation of local land conflict and on their impact on peacebuilding in the Great Lakes.
“Tomorrow is a new day” – or “Lobi Mokola ya Sika” in Lingala – is the name of SFCG’s long running security sector reform program in DRC, which entered its fourth phase on June 1, 2014. The program is implemented in four provinces across the DRC (North Kivu, South Kivu, Ituri and Kinshasa) with the overall objective of strengthening mutual trust between civilians and the security forces by encouraging improved behaviour within the security forces and strives for an empowered role of local communities to hold the security forces accountable for their actions.
This mid-term evaluation used a mixed methods methodology to investigate the progress of results towards the program’s specific objectives. Overall, the acquisition of knowledge on the part of the beneficiaries has been effective, and is considered by the various actors to have been at the origin of a visible change in behavior. For example, concerning the police, it was reported in some areas that they no longer oblige families to pay to be able to give food to detainees and that they accompany women traveling at night to protect them. However, concerning the change in the number of incidents of abuse by forces and in accountability, results remain limited: nearly a quarter of civilians believed that cases of abuse have not decreased (24%), with 32% saying “it depends” and 41% feeling that there has been a reduction. Though trust and perceptions of relations between civilians and security forces have not developed in an entirely positive manner, more than 80% of civilians now believe that the FARDC and the PNC contribute to ensuring the safety of their province, and that they are acting with the aim of guaranteeing the security of local populations. Recommendations to strengthen programming include increasing the army and police base committees’ ownership of the gender aspects of the program and for SFCG and its partners to better balance attention between the urban centers and rural areas.
La problématique des ressources naturelles et particulièrement celle liée aux ressources foncières est aujourd’hui au cœur des débats tant sur le plan local, national, sous régional et international, surtout lorsqu’on analyse les enjeux et les défis relatifs à la reconstruction des pays post-conflit, au développement local et à la question du changement climatique que cela renferme. En République Démocratique du Congo (RDC), plusieurs facteurs sont à la base de la désorganisation du secteur foncier qui amenuise les moyens de subsistance d’une majeure partie de sa population. Parmi ceux-ci, la question juridique, qui se traduit par une concurrence entre la coutume et le droit écrit sur le foncier, figure en première position.
Au Sud Kivu plus spécifiquement, la problématique foncière se décline d’une part par une transition désorganisée et d’autre part en une opposition d’intérêt entre l’État et les populations locales autour de la conservation de la nature. Le problème lié à la transition foncière s’observent à trois niveaux: au plan du contenu matériel des contrats fonciers, au plan du contenu des pratiques foncières et au plan des rapports fonciers intra claniques.