Boniface Mudenge, the genocide survivor who is healing Rwanda

Boniface Mudenge is a small farmer and a contemporary peacebuilding legend in Rwanda.

Peace Rising

With the help of our local staff’s training and mentorship, the young people featured in these testimonies became influential peacebuilders.

Foreign Affairs Committee Hearing on Democracy in Rwanda

Please join us for this Foreign Affairs Committee Hearing on the state of democratic institutions in Rwanda.

Life during land conflict in Africa: the story of “Terre D’Entente”

In the Great Lakes region of Africa, 90% of the population depend on agriculture to survive. Our initiatives to eliminate land conflict help rural communities thrive — and save lives in the process.

Women Take the Lead: Mediating Land Conflict in the Great Lakes

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.

Strengthening citizen participation around sensitive issues in order to prevent conflicts in the Great Lakes region: The role and place of women in mediation in Gisagara District, Rwanda

In the Great Lakes of Africa, Search for Common Ground (SFCG) identified the resolution of land disputes as the most critical social issue to enhance governments’ legitimacy and conflict prevention capacity in Burundi, Rwanda, and the Eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). Given its vital economic value but also its important social and political implications, land is a main source of competition in the Great Lakes’ region, where agriculture and land ownership constitute the major mean for survival for a great majority of the population. The power, cultural, and identity-related issues linked to land, as well as its centrality to socio- economic development highlight its significant relevance to peace. In the absence of alternatives to agriculture, land access and ownership have caused mounting tensions in all three countries. The region’s high population density exacerbates the pressure on land. Rwanda is among the smallest countries in the world, with more than 250 inhabitants per square kilometer.

To help tackle land issues in a non-violent way, Search for Common Ground (SFCG) in collaboration with the Ministry of Justice in Rwanda (MINIJUST) has been working to train Abunzi mediators in conflict resolution and mediation skills using peaceful methods as a part of its regional project “Terre d’Entente”, supported by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands since July 2012. This case study focuses on the role of female mediators in resolving land related conflicts in Rwanda. It assesses the contribution of trainings and regional exchanges delivered by SFCG to support female mediators to achieve this goal.

Media As A Force For Change

Media is a crucial player in conflict situations capable of both inciting violence and catalyzing positive change. Search is a recognized pioneer in using media to promote peace and stability in conflict-ridden communities.