The Rwanda Peace Education Programme (RPEP) officially launched in Gisagara District at Groupe Scolaire Sainte Bernadette, Save, on Tuesday, 26 April 2016. The programme helps people understand their past and inspires them to start discussions around peace, tolerance and reconciliation in their communities. The Kigali Genocide Memorial is a partner of the programme, providing support through education materials and facilitators who lead community visits.
Over the course of the next two weeks, Gisagara residents will have the chance to join a range of programme activities including:
- Visiting an exhibition featuring stories of hope from community peacemakers across Rwanda
- Taking part in workshops with students, teachers and civil society representatives on the history of genocide and how to build a more united society
- Participating in debates about the role of peace in development
Among those who attended the ceremony were the Executive Secretary of Save, District Education Officers, school principals and other local government and civil society representatives.
Sharing the vision of the programme with the community, Programme Manager Jean Michel Habineza said the Rwanda Peace Education Programme aims to shape attitudes and behavior among educators, decision makers, young people and visitors.
“We encourage social cohesion, positive values, empathy, critical thinking and action, all with a purpose to build a more peaceful society,” said Jean Michel.
Speaking on behalf of the Mayor of Gisagara, Innocent Kimonyo, the Executive Secretary of Save, said that education remains a great tool to bring change to people’s perspectives and for Rwanda as a nation, which is raising a new generation free from hatred and genocide ideology.
“Programmes like this contribute a lot to the government initiatives to promote unity and development among Rwandans. I commend this effort to shape a new generation through peace education,” said Kimonyo.
He concluded his remarks by pledging support from the district office and all other local leaders and partners because the programme has the shared objective of promoting positive values.
The closing ceremony is scheduled to take place on 6 May 2016.
About the Rwanda Peace Education Programme
Through trainings, workshops and an exhibition, the Rwanda Peace Education Programme aims to help Rwandans understand their past in a way that supports moving forward, encourages active citizenship, personal responsibility and the values that promote unity and social cohesion.
The programme is a joint initiative of the Aegis Trust, the Institute of Research and Dialogue for Peace, Radio La Benevolincija and the University of South California – Shoah Foundation. Now in its third year, the programme has visited 16 communities and trained thousands of Rwandans in peace building.