FRIENDS PEACE HOUSE/ URUGO RW'AMAHORO
HELP 450 RWANDAN PRISONERS TO BECOME PEACEBUILDES PROGRESS REPORT
Who are we?
We are a faith based organization
To see Rwandese people living together in good relationship with one another in healthy, well-developed communities.
To promote peace, unity, and reconciliation among the people of Rwanda and to holistically contribute to the development of the Rwandan society.
Our core values:
Peace (Shalom), Integrity, Forgiveness, Reconciliation, Unity, Transparency, Openness and Discernment.
This project intends to help 450 inmates to become mediators with a purpose of creating peacebuilders within Rwandan prisons. $8,804 raised of $22,500 goal. Up to now 36 persons were trained about transformative mediation.
As mentioned in our previous report, we decided to work in women prisons, because the prison is not only the institution that guarantees our security by imprison people who seem to be dangerous to our social life. But also at the same time prisons are considered as education centres where punishments and teachings can be offered to bring back inmates’ sense of humanity and when prisoners are released, they can contribute to promote security.
Our program of transformative mediation is to train women inmates so that they can start doing mediation in prisons and be able to help their respective communities when released. This is what we wanted: to empower and let women prisoners reflect about transformative mediation.
This report shows that the possibility of working in prison improved in volume, quality and social efficiency of security inside the prisons and it is a tool for social reintegration.
Since the program was launched in Ngoma women prison, the mediation trainers of Friends Peace House trained, refreshed and did follow up in order to not only support the trainees but also respond much to their needs.
Because of limited funds comparing to project needs, the Friends Peace House decided to only focus on 25 inmates trained (Four of them were released) and 11 trainers of Friends peace house so that they can be professionals.
From June, 2019, a refreshers training to both FPH trainers and Inmates and a follow up visit were organized and took place to track the changes with the following objectives:
- Building up the team work: Using some team working exercises to bring up the idea of togetherness. Because we hope that as they need to work together, they can continue to learn and empower one another
- Evaluation in small groups, through focus group, Friends Peace House wanted to get feedback from trainees to track: positive impact, lesson learnt, challenges and how to overcome the later.
A refresher training of two days was conducted on 26th -27th June in Ngoma prison; it was on opportunity to make a follow up visit. This refresher was preceded by a two days refresher training of FPH trainers which took place from 24th- 25th June, 2019.
After reading the feedback given by the focus groups, the following are the findings of the follow up:
- All trainees master the content of transformative meditation, and they started using their skills to reduce violence in their communities
- There is a consistent Decrease of internal criminal rate in Ngoma Prison
- From the beginning of this program, more than 60 conflict cases have been mediated including 11 conflict cases mediated by FPH trainers.
- There is a positive impact of the program because some prisoners changed their behaviors such as fighting, stealing, drug abuse and frauds.
The following are the testimonies of trained women inmates:
- Francine: Before getting mediation training, I used to fight with colleagues and always conflicting with others. The only way to me of solving a conflict was fighting and always being taken to the cell. But today, I am exemplary to the people of my block. They are asking about what happened to me. I am much transformed by mediation
- Immaculée: As a community leader who was always called to solve conflict, I used to take a side. I have found that what I was doing was not really a good way to solve conflict but making it worse. I have found that when there is not transformation, mediation cannot bring peace. Today, we are not getting many cases of conflict and people are more happy than before.
- Violette: To me, I can say that Mediation brought me back to life. It helped me to recognize the value of others but also valuing what they values in their life. Today, I interact with others freely and I am feeling much love in my life. I also have a new family here. When I am in this group, I feel more comfortable and safe.
Recommendations from the participants and the prison leadership:
Here are some of the recommendation from the trainee and prison leadership:
- The prison’s leaders recommended FPH to increase the number of workshops and participants
- The trainees recommended FPH to provide certificates of completion as a matter of fact.
- The inmate trainees recommended FPH to have in place plans which will help some of them who have been released and those whose sentences are about to end to continue playing the role of mediation in the community and partner with Friends Peace House
- The Inmates recommended FPH to continue follow up workshops and advices to this work so that they continue doing what they are called to do.
- Inmates suggested that FPH can bring together the beneficiaries of AVP and transformative mediation so that they can start working together as a team and sharing their experiences
NB: we are sorry about photos, because it is not allowed to take pictures in the Rwandan prisons