‘I realised that getting angry or quarrelling is not the solution. But humility helps you to come to an agreement with the person you are in conflict with,’ says Reverien Rwasa, a Peace Champion in Burundi.
Reverien was trained by Tearfund’s partner, Help Channel Burundi, to encourage people to reach agreement on difficult issues by talking to each other – an approach known as ‘community conflict transformation dialogues’.
After the training, Reverien facilitated a series of workshops to help his community reflect on the conflicts that affect them, and equip them to transform these conflicts.
After many weeks of dialogue sessions, Reverien’s community identified various things they could do to help reduce the amount of conflict in their area. They formed a peacebuilding committee, started to run football matches to improve community cohesion, and provided the time and space for people to talk through their disagreements with a neutral mediator.
Over time, Reverien was delighted to see a reduction in the number of arguments being brought to the local government authorities.
He says, ‘People used to bring grievances to the local authorities two days each week, but these have reduced significantly. When people have opportunities to discuss issues that matter to them, conflicts can be prevented and resolved peacefully.’