The Economic Community of the Great Lakes Countries (CEPGL) is an international organization created in September 1976 for economic integration and facilitating the movement of goods and people between different countries in the Great Lakes region of Central Africa, whose Burundi, Zaire - now the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) - and Rwanda.
It is headquartered in Gisenyi in Rwanda and Goma in the DRC (the other side of Lake Kivu).
CEPGL has in her breast The Youth Council of the Economic Community of the Great lakes (CJ / CEPGL) is an integrative structure of the youth from Burundi , the DRC and Rwanda.
It is in this context of CJ / CEPGL that takes place in Gisenyi / Rwanda Youth Forum for the development of a 2015-2020 action plan , review of the Internal Rules and Regulations also peace culture promotion in the Great Lakes Region .
CEDAC was represented by Ms. Melissa Iteka.
Participants shared the information for the role of youth on peace building in their own countries. According to the organizers of the forum, the youth council of the great lakes countries had get the opportunity to make difference between political manipulation and community conflict which tearing seriously the region for decades .
The forum ended with the election of the new comity of the youth council of CEPGL, the secretary of the youth council have given to Burundi and CEDAC’s represent was elected Executive Secretary of the youth council.
The implementation of the Project “Bumbatira Amahoro” continues amongst tensions in Burundi. Beneficiaries have now received training in the SILC (Saving and Internal Lending Community) methodology (where groups pool weekly savings and take loans with low interest rates). In Ngozi commune’s weekly meeting on the 20th August 2015 the discussion focused on what people foresaw doing with the funds that would be available to them for lending. A number of ideas came up most of them focusing on sales or small local businesses. Guided by the animator the discussion included; making sure goals are realistic given the small amount that each person is able to receive to start with, thinking strategically in regards of what is needed in the community, who will use the service, if someone else is doing it already and once the small business is set up how to attract customers. Ethics were also discussed and the need for the group as youth leaders in the community to lead by example (the selling of cigarettes was thus not encouraged).
Under the patronage of His Excellency the Ombudsman of the Republic of Burundi, CEDAC in partnership with AOAV officially launch project "Engaging of youth leaders to prevent conflict in Burundi" Friday, April 10, 2015. Royal Palace Hotel Bujumbura
In his s welcoming speech the Founder & President of the training Centre for Development of Ex-Combatants (CEDAC acronym) made a brief description of the organization to partners, various guests and participants. Founded in 2005 to support the ex-combatants and other victims of armed violence to reintegrate into communities, CEDAC is a non-profit, apolitical organization.
He added that the project launched officially goes into the vast program of reduction of the armed violence started by CEDAC since its creation in 2005.. Awareness campaigns in the fight against small arms were held by the organization itself with collecting a sufficient number of weapons and munitions and this in partnership with the National Commission civil disarmament and UNDP.
Violent acts committed by political party youth groups threaten the holding of peaceful elections in 2015. CEDAC and Action on Armed Violence AOAV under support of US Departement of State propose to work with 1,800 political party youth leaders and ex-combatants in 20 communes , in BUJUMBURA MAIRIE ,BUJUMBURA RURAL , BUBANZA , NGOZI and GITEGA that are hotspots of violence or were in 2010, in order to reduce their willingness to commit violence.
Ex-combatants were involved in the spreading of violence in 2010 and are particularly at-risk of manipulation, and will therefore receive particular attention. Using a holistic approach combining social and economic aspects, the project builds relationships and trust, teaches tools for conflict resolution, and creates spaces for dialogue and mediation of conflict, while also targeting the root causes of vulnerability and conflict by helping youth start income-generating activities (IGAs).
Peer to peer support along with micro credit through SILC programs (Savings and Internal Loan Communities) is a project which CEDAC along with AOAV (Action on Armed Violence) and AEOEP (Framing Association for young Orphans and Peace Education) is currently working with. The participants consist of young people from different political parties, ex-combatants, and other vulnerable categories of people, such as youth, head of families, refugees, IDPs (Internally Displaced People), and Twa. All who together are working towards reducing and preventing violence within the Burundian community. Reconciliation is an important impact of the project, which could be seen through a field visit to Bujumbura rural, where testimonies were told and young people pardoned each other due to the peer to peer support work. The peer to peer support project is supported by the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and has been active since July, 2014. CEDAC has put together a team of peer support workers, who are sharing the same background as the participants.
In July 2013, in conjunction with Action On Armed Violence (AOAV) a programme of advocacy was conceived at CEDAC. The goal was to raise awareness for those living with disability – particularly women – and to pressure the government of Burundi to ratify the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities or the CRPD. The implementation phases begun in November 2013 and has only just concluded as April 2014 nears its end. The activities experienced a 16 day crescendo between 25 November and 10 December, coinciding with the International Day of People with Disabilities. It was during this period that CEDAC and AOAV, supported by AusAID, held a period of activism and awareness including an event on 8 December to celebrate the lives of people with disabilities and those living with HIV/AIDS.
The Programme itself was officially concluded in April with a round table discussion here in Bujumbura, Burundi with all parties happy with the outcome. The federal government has agreed to the need to ratify the CRPD, it has passed both houses of parliament and is simply awaiting the President’s signature. However, the project will continue into the future because there is still a need for community awareness and sensitisation to occur ensuring that people – and importantly women – living with disability enjoy the same rights and freedoms that are afforded to able bodied people.
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