ConDev and the Congo Peace Center (CPC) moved their mission for peacebuilding in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) forward with the signing of an act of community unity at a meeting in the Congolese town of Rutshuru. The act declared a commitment of unity for the stabilization and sustainable development of the North Kivu region.
“Texas A&M’s support for the Congo Peace Center is an important venture to promote peace building, fulfilling part of ConDev’s mission,” said Jendayi Frazer, executive professor in the Department of Political Science, who directs the efforts of the CPC. “Congo has many of the world’s answers: its forests are key to the global efforts to stem climate change; its hydro-power can light up Africa; its size and location at the heart of Africa is key to progress across the entire continent; and only its people and their commitment to peace and development can realize the promise that Congo holds globally.” Frazer is a former U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs, heading the Bureau of African Affairs, and former U.S. Ambassador to South Africa.
The CPC and National Stabilization Program and Reconstruction of Congo (STAREC) hosted the four-day event, which contained breakout sessions, training sessions and multiple speakers. Community participation grew over the course of the event.
The goal of the dialogue was to teach and discuss ways to achieve peace for the region through development activities. Topics of training included:
- causes of conflict and mechanisms for conflict resolution,
- rights and obligations of citizens and
- participation in local budgeting.
Participants worked in breakout groups on inter-community conflict and resolution; relationship between communities and the state authorities; and local development project prioritization. For instance, the communities selected two integration projects to promote economic activities in the region: corn flour mill production and the rehabilitation of the rural roads in chiefdoms Bwito and Bwishya. The CPC will advocate for STAREC and the North Kivu provincial government to support the development of these two community projects, and ConDev Program Specialist Manya Riche will manage the effort.