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Report on work in Burundi in 2009

Report on work in Burundi in 2009

Former child soldier talks with small group who listen attentively

Kabba Williams, reformed child soldier from Sierra Leone and Jane Meleney Coe, Bethesda Friends Meeting converse as Johnson Borh from Liberia and Rachel Muhorakeye from Burundi listen keenly.

Photo: AFSC

Since the signing of peace accords in Arusha in 2000, Burundi has an opportunity to break the decades-old cycle of violence. AFSC and Quaker UN Office-NY are working to bring grassroots African experiences into the UN Peacebuilding Commission’s post-conflict reconciliation activities. AFSC and BIRATURABA, a local partner, are engaging civil society organizations (CSOs) in the implementation, monitoring and evaluation of the peace process, as well as enhancing communication and information-sharing among CSOs. During a workshop on the "Role of Men in Ending Violence Against Women," representatives from Rwanda, Burundi and the DRC recognized that ongoing war-related violence increases the likelihood of rape; they agreed to recruit additional men and community leaders in efforts to stop gender-based violence. At another AFSC-sponsored meeting, community leaders from Rwanda, Burundi, and the DRC shared strategies and methodologies to address trauma healing. Working through local churches, Quaker communities and other nonprofit organizations, AFSC has distributed food to 450 households of refugees returning from Tanzania and other vulnerable families. Many of the refugee families are led by women; some are landless and thus unable to raise their own food.