Trans-Border Dialogue for Peace in the Great Lakes Region

Jointly with the European Union, Switzerland supports a trans-border dialogue for peace in the Great Lakes Region, a program run by Interpeace with local NGOs. This third phase will focus on young women and young men as key drivers for peace and stability in the region and expand its activities to Uganda to further tackle the regionality of conflicts in the region. This will contribute to a better promotion of peace, good governance and concrete consensus-based solutions, in the region. 

Country/region Topic Period Budget
The Great Lakes Region
Conflict & fragility
Employment & economic development
Conflict prevention
Democratic participation and civil society
Social dialogue
01.09.2021 - 31.08.2026
CHF  5’000’000
Background The Great Lakes Region has been shaken for decades in layers of purposefully activated conflict along different fault lines. The current context is marked by political tensions and violence in Burundi, Uganda, and the DRC. The tensions between Rwanda and Uganda due to an ongoing power struggle in terms of their level of leadership in the region are still running high. The persistence of armed groups, especially in eastern DRC, the competition for resources; minerals, oil, gas but also wood, grazing grounds and trade routes, and the vulnerability of the region from external shocks such as climate change and health crises, are all factors that negatively affect the stability of the region. It increases lack of trust and negative stereotypes between communities within and across borders. Stereotypes are manipulated for different interests, yet the program has shown that communities can become resilient and build trust across borders and “ethnicities” in order to resist instrumentalization and stop the frequent recurrence to violence. The context remains highly volatile, and support for credible efforts in peacebuilding is urgently needed, especially for young women and men who remain particularly vulnerable to all types of violence, trauma transmission and absence of socio-economic perspectives.
Objectives Contributing to peace, reinforcing social cohesion and trust in the Great Lakes region, through the promotion of the value of common interests and increased cooperation between communities within and across borders, by integration of young people into processes of participatory research, dialogue platforms and advocacy. The programme seeks to reduce feelings of mistrust and prejudice, within and across borders.
Target groups

Community members and decision makers in Burundi, Rwanda, Uganda, and DRC (North & South Kivu, Kinshasa)

5 local NGOs are direct implementers of the project, 2 in DRC, 1 in Burundi, 1 in Rwanda and 1 in Uganda:

Vision Jeunesse Nouvelle (VJN) in Rwanda; Centre d’Alerte et de Prévention des Conflits (CENAP) in Burundi ; Action pour la paix et la concorde (APC) in South Kivu, Pole Institute, in North Kivu ; and an implementing partner in Uganda to be defined.  

Medium-term outcomes

Outcome 1:    Young women and men increase their socio-economic capacities, their leadership in domestic and regional peacebuilding processes, and are able to apply its skills through intergenerational and cross-cultural exchanges.

Outcome 2:    Young women and men apply their strengthened knowledge and skills to undertake concrete conflict resolution and mediation initiatives nationally and regionally, and seize advocacy opportunities to articulate their vision for peace in decision-making processes.

Outcome 3:    Decision makers and peacebuilding institutions at the regional, national and/or local levels effectively integrate youth interests in policies, processes and/or interventions.


Expected results:  

-    At least 240 young women and men are selected and trained as mediators, facilitators and peacebuilders; a regional taskforce guiding the implementation of youth initiatives is created and at least 10 meetings are carried out;

-    At least 180 cross-cultural and intergenerational activities engaging 5400 community members (40 participants per session) are carried out to address recurring behavioral patterns still hindering reconciliation, like transgenerational transmission of trauma, of stereotypes, mistrust or hate;

-    At least 60 youth are trained in the development of youth initiatives to promote social change through a series of at least three in person, and two distance training and mentorship sessions engaging civil society and governmental actors ;

-    A coordination mechanism (CM) including Interpeace and key stakeholders is created and support youth to effectively advocate for their interests and needs; existing capacities, challenges and opportunities concerning conflict management and mediation structures are identified through a comprehensive mapping of conflict management and mediation structures at the domestic and regional levels;

-    Regional experience sharing trips are organized for the 60 young innovators in other contexts/countries than theirs; at least 5 regional peacebuilding summits are organized in the region.

Results from previous phases:  

Local and independent initiatives are undertaken by communities to build resilience capacities and social cohesion (games, sport, joint visits, …);

Permanent dialogue Groups (GDPs) engaged decision makers to take decisions in the interest of communities, like abolishing illegal fines at borders; GDPs serve as a safe space for conflict mediation between communities and engage decision makers on peacebuilding and social cohesion issues;

Community members have been trained on peace building issues and use these skills to advocate on issues; GDPs were identified as a best practice of the previous phase. They successfully engaged with relevant stakeholders (community members, CSOs, private sector, religious leaders, decision makers) to influence decisions and promote peaceful resolutions of conflicts and the rule of law;

The program has witnessed youth-led initiatives demonstrate their effectiveness in counteracting stereotypes and inter-generational transmission of hatred and conflict; the evaluation recommended to engage youth for having actively taken up peace resolution in communities and continued involvement will further peace in the region. 

Directorate/federal office responsible SDC
Project partners Contract partner
Swiss Non-profit Organisation
  • Other Swiss Non-profit Organisation

Other partners
Interpeace Regional Office, Nairobi
Coordination with other projects and actors Synergies with Tujenge Amani and other trans-border initiatives (International Alert). FDFA/PHRD support to CENAP through Interpeace in Burundi and PHRD interventions in DRC. PROMOST, Mupaka Shamba Letu 
Budget Current phase Swiss budget CHF    5’000’000 Swiss disbursement to date CHF    2’800’000 Total project since first phase Swiss budget CHF   7’700’000 Budget inclusive project partner CHF   12’700’000
Project phases Phase 3 01.09.2021 - 31.08.2026   (Current phase) Phase 2 01.01.2017 - 30.06.2021   (Completed) Phase 1 01.09.2013 - 31.12.2016   (Completed)