- Institute of Research and Dialogue for Peace (IRDP) has formed three forums at the national level, one forum in each province, and local forums in 5 districts. IRDP has taken care to select forum participants based on their skills and integrity, taking care to represent different sectors of Rwandan society (Hutu, Tutsi, Twa, genocide survivors, families of prisoners accused of having participating in the genocide, youth, elders, refugees coming back from exile, etc.).
- Discussions have succeeded in breaking taboos on critical issues in Rwandan society, and decision-makers and the public alike are discussing them more openly. Issues addressed include the role of political parties in democracy, revisionism, reparation of the genocide victims, the gap between population growth and the economic growth, and the potential role of tax collection in the country's economic development.
- Some issues discussed in the forums have been examined in the Rwandan Parliament as well. Outcomes are communicated by radio and additional live debates have been organized on independent radio to provide the opportunity for more Rwandans to participate in 'Uruvugiro'. - 50 dialogue clubs were launched in February 2007 in secondary schools in each province. The purpose of these school dialogue clubs is to raise children's awareness of democratic principles and tolerance. IRDP and Interpeace took the lead in designing the educational material, which includes short videos to stimulate debate, role playing, and plays. Based on the positive response, IRDP and Interpeace have organized an annual competition to promote tolerance where students from across the country submit poems, drawings, and plays related to peace and democracy.
March - August, 2007
- Established 3 forums at the national level and 4 forums at the provincial level. Organized and facilitated open discussions on previously taboo issues including the role of political parties in democracy in Rwanda, revisionism, reparation for genocide victims, and the gap between population growth and the growth of the economy; as a result - some of these issues were discussed in the Rwandan Parliament. Additional live debates were organized on independent radio to provide the opportunity for more Rwandans to participate in uruvugiro.
- Plans are underway to continue to expand uruvugiro with five forums at the district level and five forums of local associations of farmers and non-schooled youth. Linkages will also be made between the research IRDP is conducting on the peacebuilding challenges facing Rwanda and the dialogue forums.
- The results of the 5 existing dialogue clubs have been creating empathy between the clubs' members IRDP and Interpeace continue to work in rural areas through 5 dialogue clubs. The clubs bring together Rwandans from very different backgrounds (Hutu, Tutsi, Twa, genocide survivors, families of prisoners accused of having participating in the genocide, youth, elders, refugees coming back from exile, etc.) which is fostering reconciliation. For example in the club in Maraba, dialogue club members pooled their limited resources to help a sick member get to the provincial hospital (about 30 kms away from Maraba). They also took turns with the family to regularly bring him food which was not provided by the hospital. In Budaha, a club member who was having difficulties financing his wedding received financial support from the dialogue club members to his dowry (in Rwandan culture this normally only done by close family and friends).
These snapshots into the life of every day Rwandans show the importance of the bonds existing between the dialogue club members and how suspicion and mistrust can be overcome. During a meeting of all the dialogue clubs in July 2007, the Ministry of Agriculture hailed the initiative and expressed his willingness to have this experience extended to the whole country.
- Established three national-level forums and one forum in nearly each of Rwanda's 12 provinces.
- Held debates within the national-level forums on the issues of demographic growth, political parties, reparation for genocide victims, and the potential of tax collection in helping spur economic growth - these topics, particularly the problem posed by a population that may double in size and the strain that will place on the nation's cultivated land, have since been introduced to the Parliament.