Bimbo commune in the south of Bangui, capital of the Central African Republic, witnessed some of the fiercest fighting during the post-election crisis of 2021 when rebels of the CPC (Coalition des Patriotes pour le Change) tried to push through the area into the city before being forced back by Government troops.

The conflict took a major toll on communities in Bimbo, where the Aegis Trust’s Central African peace education team was warmly welcomed at the end of March for a 3-day workshop running into April.

Hundreds of people from Bimbo commune participated in the workshop, including community and religious leaders, neighbourhood leaders and youth representatives. They learned more about the history and context of the country’s multiple crises, exploring the experiences of courageous Central Africans featured in Aegis’ mobile peacebuilding exhibition, and took part in activities designed to foster critical thinking, empathy and personal responsibility.

Teachers present at the workshop recommended holding an event for educational managers to explore further use of the mobile exhibition content, and the Mayor of Bimbo encouraged the Aegis team to arrange peacebuilding activities with ex-combatants and victims of violence living in the commune.

“We thank Aegis for having thought of our commune,” commented Community leader Franck René Mandanga, “because it is the first time that we have seen such an exhibition which traces the history of our country.”

“We women are the first victims of the crises in the Central African Republic,” commented Ms Seremale, President of the Women’s Organization in Bimbo. “If you can, also sensitize politicians to stop manipulating the population, because the country has suffered a lot.”

“It is time for reconciliation and the search for lasting peace,” said youth leader Thibaut Penda. “Please tour the Central African Republic with these panels.”

“Looking at the panels, they are very necessary to educate our children,” commented school director Mr Yemo, “because they retrace the history of our country and open up prospects for lasting peace.”

Aegis is delivering peace education in a context of insecurity, multiple practical challenges, and sporadic extreme violence. The context makes the work all the more urgent.

You can directly support or fundraise for the Aegis Trust’s work in the Central African Republic through the Marina H Smith Foundation here: