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Réconciliation

Background:

 

For the past 7 years, civil war has been raging in the Democratic Republic of Congo (hereafter DRC), and especially in the north‑eastern regions of Ituri and bordering North­ Kivu, with an estimated population of 10 million. The conflict has been mainly between the Hema and Lendu tribes, though other tribes have become involved by siding with one or the other of the tribes. Many thousands have been killed, raped, internally displaced with their houses looted, even whole villages totally destroyed. The legacy of trauma is enormous. Sadly, the church which is meant to be the light shining in the darkness has been both involved in the same conflicts and wounded by them. Often there is no difference between the church and the community in terms of beliefs, prejudices and behavior. Obviously there are foundational Biblical truths which are overlooked or not understood.

 

Current trauma counseling programs are not Biblically based and are not healing the wounds or changing people's attitudes. Because of the weaknesses mentioned above, the Church is unable to be an agent of healing and reconciliation in the community

 

Centre Medical Evangelique (CME) is ~ non‑profit organization registered in DRC since March 1970, with the above region as its catchment area. Created by 5 evangelical missions, it is run by the joint effort of 7 Protestant denominations. Its aim is to spread the gospel through its medical and teaching activities. Despite the tragic destruction of an excellent Christian hospital in Nyankunde in 2002, CME has continued to serve the traumatized population. 60 inter‑ethnic groups in 7 centers have been involved in evangelism and intercession, especially seeking to address the strong occult aspects of the ongoing conflict. They are already equipped to host debriefing sessions, led by their mature members, for the benefit of the local community.

 

In August 2004, Dr Rhiannon Lloyd of Le Rucher Ministries, Geneva, was invited by CME to run a workshop for key Christian leaders in Bunia on the role of the church in "Healing the Wounds of Ethnic Conflict" (HWEC workshops). She had already introduced this ministry into Rwanda with remarkable results. Church leaders were targeted as 90% of the population attends church, together with those selected from among the existing 60 CME groups. This pilot workshop was attended by 52 participants with good representations from the Hema and Lendu tribes, but with several other minority tribes present also. This workshop resulted in significant healing, forgiveness and reconciliation among the vast majority of those who attended.

 

Since then she has made 2 more visits and run another 3 workshops in the region. One of the workshops targeted Christian leaders among the former inhabitants of Bogoro village which was totally destroyed in 2002.This was the first time the different ethnic groups had sat together since the massacre. The result of that workshop is that those leaders were reconciled to each other and have since received the local authorities' blessing to go back and rebuild the village together. This is now in progress.

 

On her last visit in July 2005, Dr Lloyd conducted a training seminar which was attended by 80 people who had been particularly responsive in previous HWEC workshops. Even before the training began, many testified of initiatives they had already taken to bring the message of reconciliation to their families, and their communities. Even some of the militia had listened to their message and handed in their weapons. From among those who attended, various ones are now being selected to run workshops in other areas. The teams vary according to the location of the seminar and availability of the trainers. They are highly motivated to influence the whole region by every possible means to bring the conflict to an end.

Up to this point, the work was funded by a $10,000 legacy of a former missionary doctor who had worked at Nyankunde hospital, but that has now been used up. (it was channeled through MedAir, who works in partnership with CME.) So as not to lose momentum, Dr Lloyd was able to raise from personal prayer supporters and friends an additional $7,200 to be used from Aug ‑ Dec to continue the work. Since then, HWEC workshops have been run, rallies conducted and even an album recorded of newly created songs of reconciliation. The latest news from Bunia is that "The whole region has been shaken by the results of the workshops and the network strategy. Consequently there is great demand for more input...."

 

 

Project Goal:

 

By 2008 to equip the church to produce and multiply 3200 transformation agents who will contribute toward the restoration of regional peace through ministering Biblical healing of psycho‑social wounds caused by ethnic conflict.

 

Objectives:

 

1.  Run 21 workshops of HWEC (3 days seminar for up to 100 participants each) per year from January 2006 so that at least 1500 people a year can experience healing of their wounds and attitudes, and can themselves become transformation agents in their communities.

 

2.  Run 4 open‑air 3‑day reconciliation rallies per year, targeting whole villages, each followed by a 1 ‑day conference for an average of 1000 people to further discuss/debate the principles,

 

3.  From January 2006 to run 5‑day training seminars twice a year, each to equip a minimum of 60 selected people who have already attended HWEC workshops, so that at least 120 people per year will be trained to run the HWEC workshop.

 

4.  By December 2007 to run 2 special HWEC workshops for at least 50 strategic leaders in the community (key people from private and government hierarchy).

 

5   Strengthen and motivate the 60 CME groups which already exist, so that they can organize, support and follow‑up HWEC workshops, and use the principles themselves. This way, they can become more effective in their communities and help bring an end to hostilities.

 

6.  Produce 2 albums of peacemaking songs in the local language during the lifetime of the project. These will also be presented at rallies and conferences. (One album is already in process of being recorded.)

 

7.   By end Dee 2007, to run a 5‑day "Biblical Foundations of Community Development" seminar for a minimum of 60 selected trainers.

 

Activities

 

Drawing on lessons learnt during eleven years of ministry of Rwanda, the following activities are to be undertaken to meet the above specific objectives:

 

HWEC Workshops will be run to which influential Christian leaders (men, women and youth) from all the tribes are invited. As 90% of the population attends church, we believe this is the best way to impact the community. We also want to further empower the existing 60 CME groups, so will invite all who have a reasonable educational level to attend. We also work in collaboration with PPSSP (who run a trauma counseling programme as part of the Public Health Promotion activities), inviting selected members to both HWEC workshops and training seminars. All those who attend HWEC workshops will be strongly encouraged to use what they have learnt in their communities to help promote peace and reconciliation.

 

Local authorities are invited to attend and authorize the opening ceremonies. We seek to identify those with a particular interest in reconciliation to invite them to their own workshop at a later date. These strategic workshops will be conducted by Dr Rhiannon Lloyd because of the importance of hierarchy in Congolese culture.

 

Further 5‑day training seminars will be conducted to train others who are particularly responsive to the HWEC workshops. This will multiply the reconciliation agents. The core team will soon be able to conduct the training seminars themselves. Trainees are encouraged to attend at least 2 further HWEC workshops as part of their training. The long term aim is to equip and motivate as many people as possible to influence their communities to bring an end to hostilities.

 

Teams will be formed from among the trainees. Rather than be fixed teams, there will be a few key people who will work full time on these teams and others who will join them from time to time according to the location of the workshop and their availability. There will be ongoing networking and supervision of the teams ‑ see details under evaluation section.

 

Trainees will also be encouraged to use any other available opportunity to teach the principles to other Christians. (Other faiths are not excluded if they show an interest. Some Muslims, seeing the effect it has had in healing people's hearts, have already asked if they can attend sessions, even though they know it is a Christian programme.)

 

The general public will also be invited to open‑air rallies to teach the principles of healing, forgiveness and reconciliation, and hear songs on the same themes. The effectiveness of these gatherings will be enhanced by the use of musical instruments and public address systems ‑ especially in attracting youth to attend these events. A team of 12 trained people will be involved in conducting these rallies. Those who have experienced healing and reconciliation will be giving testimonies and confessing the wrongs of their tribes. These events will end with day conferences for those who would like to discuss/debate these matters further. In some places a series of evening meetings will be organized, and this will not require funding.

 

Following Rwanda's example, some people are beginning to write new songs of forgiveness and reconciliation and a first album is being recorded. We expect that this will stimulate interest in others to do the same and envisage a second album being produced during the next 3 years. As music plays a key role in African society, we expect these songs to be a powerful motivator to help end hostilities.

 

The Community Development consultant from Le Rucher ministries, Geneva will be invited to train selected trainers in Biblical worldview before the end of the second year. This will equip them with teachings against animistic cults, which have strong roots in African churches, and will also help them in the ownership and sustainability of the project. It will also give them more ideas of how reconciliation can become practical as the different ethnic groups are motivated to work together to develop and transform their communities.

 

The project is designed to be implemented in an area of more than 65.000 kM2 600km from North Ituri down to Mont Rwenzori with over 3.5 millions inhabitants estimated in Ituri itself. The acquisition of a used van (three years lifetime under heavy duty) is greatly needed for the effective implementation of the project.

 

Core Team:

     The project Director, Mr. Daniel Masumbuko Kasereka is also the local facilitator and strategies initiator. He is accountable to CME Executive Director through CME projects coordination committee. The Director supervises and is responsible for the project implementation.

     Pastor Baraka Induzo, CME chaplain, also local facilitator is the spiritual supervisor of the project from the central office. He coordinates workshops and other activities.

     There are two main motivators, one from each of the two tribes Lendu and Hema. They are well trained in the practice of HWEC and also run the workshops. They carry out secretarial tasks and handle information for reports. They liaise with the group committees in the 7 centers.

     There is a logistician and a driver, both initiated in the movement. They all undertake the pre‑evaluation for the workshops, and facilitate the preparation in collaboration with local groups.

 

While the Director is paid by CME as main management staff, the other 4 team

members plus the driver are paid by the project.

 

Evaluation:

 

CME is registered by the Act No.70‑086 of 11 March 1970 as non‑profit organization through the national Congolese Church, and is composed of seven member churches of the local Christian denominations.

 

The project is implemented by the core team from the central office at CME, plus groups in local churches in the 7 centers through the formed network. The coordination of the project activities operates as follows‑.

     The project Director, Mr. Daniel Masumbuko Kasereka is also the local facilitator and strategies initiator. He is accountable to CME Executive Director through CME projects coordination committee.

     CME main accounts plus that of all its projects are annually audited by certified public accountants. The accounts are submitted to the General Assembly and published to all donors. For the past period all the funds disbursed for this project have been carried on from MedAir office.

     The Director supervises and is responsible for the project implementation and he in turn reports back to Dr Rhiannon Lloyd and the donors.

     All the groups have their committees in local churches, and they report to the central office. They identify participants and plan for the realization of the workshops. Reports on individual workshops are done directly at the end of the sessions by the group committees in collaboration with the logistician from the central office.

     Group leaders are called for a meeting with the Director and the spiritual supervisor at least once per term; and at any other time when necessary. This has not been frequent due do to lack of transport means (see distance)

     Continuous evaluation is done through group leaders in connection with the core team. Evaluation questionnaires, designed by Mercy Ministries in South Africa have been adopted by the core team for the evaluation of the impact of the HWEC workshops.

     Reports will be submitted quarterly to CME executive committee and to LRM for the donors.

     Dr Rhiannon Lloyd will be undertaking visits for content evaluation twice a year, but also for further training and special workshops.

     LRM will do a total project evaluation at the end of the project.