The province of North Kivu, in eastern DRC, has been the theatre of interethnic tensions and violence for years. Economic hardship, unemployment and unequal access to health and education have all fueled deep distrust and resentment. These manifest through hate speech and incitation to violence which, unfortunately, are sometimes heeded.
In this high-risk context, GAAMAC supported the organization of workshops by two local NGOs to confront hate speech: Blessed Aid (a member of GAAMAC’s Africa Working Group) and La Coalition des Volontaires pour la Paix et le Développement (CVPD). The workshops were organized in the province capital Goma and in the territory of Masisi.
The 50 attendees were selected for their roles as community leaders, human rights defenders, conflict mediator or other involvement in local peacebuilding. A special attention was given to representing all ethnic groups from North Kivu. 48% attendees were women.
The trainings lasted two days each, during which the mechanisms, causes and consequences of hate speech were presented. Adopting a participatory approach, organizers and participants exchanged ideas to fight this phenomenon at community level.
At the end of the training, 5 clubs comprising of 7 community leaders each were formed. They will in turn train and sensitize others to the risks of hate speech.