Rwanda Peace Education Programme (RPEP) partners, local authorities and communities gathered today to launch the peace building programme in Kirehe district in the Eastern Province, where the programme will be based for at least three weeks.

“We are all affected by a society lacking peace; your message of peace is relevant to everyone,” Executive Secretary of Kirehe sector, Apollinaire Nsengiyumva, stated in his welcome address. Noting the readiness of the local community to engage in the forthcoming workshops, training, events and exhibitions, he added, “We do hope at the end of your visit here we will [have gained] tools that can help us promote peace where we live.”

The Rwanda Peace Education Programme aims to promote social cohesion, critical thinking and other positive values that contribute to the building of a more peaceful society. “We have drawn lessons from Rwanda’s most recent history, marked by social division which resulted into a big loss during the 1994 Tutsi Genocide,” RPEP Manager Anita Kayirangwa stated at the Kirehe launch.

During presentation of the mobile exhibition ‘Rebuilding Rwanda after the Genocide’ (pictured), members of the audience – many local young people among them – were clearly moved by the stories it contains, not only about the history of Rwanda but about the experiences of children during the genocide.

District Administrator Ananie Mwiseneza reminded people that Kirehe was one of the areas most strongly affected, since it was home to one of the leading orchestrators of the genocide. He urged them to embrace lessons from the programme’s visit and contribute to making ‘Never Again’ a reality.  He also encouraged community members to become living proof that this journey of building peace is possible. “Next time we want to see panels in the exhibition telling stories of people from Kirehe considered as heroes in peace-building and being an inspiration to other communities,” he commented. Mwiseneza ended his remarks with a promise of full support from the District office.

The Kirehe community visit is due to conclude on 12 June, with the next community visit starts 29 June.