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Help 450 Rwandan Prisoners to Become Peacebuilders

by Friends Peace House
Help 450 Rwandan Prisoners to Become Peacebuilders
Help 450 Rwandan Prisoners to Become Peacebuilders
Help 450 Rwandan Prisoners to Become Peacebuilders
Help 450 Rwandan Prisoners to Become Peacebuilders

Like so many other countries, Rwanda has been struck by the COVID-19 pandemic. To cope with its expansion, the government has taken lockdown measures including implementing a quarantine, closing national and regional borders, suspending certain services, and prohibiting gatherings, conferences, trainings, and entertainments. Unfortunately, this made the training inmate transformational mediation training project impossible under the current circumstances. FPH tried to contact the released inmates by telephone to see how they are doing, and thankfully they are all fine.

FPH awaits the reopening of trainings to plan its next steps.

The project trained 169 people as follow:

      11 facilitators (5 females and 6 males)

      76 female inmates

      29 male inmates

      53 prison’s staffs ( 16 females and 37 males)

Total: 169 (97 females and 72 males)

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This report gives updates about Friends Peace House’s efforts to equip inmates through Transformational mediation. This report covers the period between 19th November, 2019 and  15th February,2020

In the previous report the following were the changes we expected:

      Training 50 new inmates in December 2019.

      Carrying out 4 more workshops.

On 20th December, 2019, Friends Peace House received 1,236 USD from GlobalGiving. This motivated us to train more prisoners and prisoner’s guards and prison staff than planned. Eighty new prisoners from Ngoma and Musanze Prisons have been trained and 53 prison staff (Guards and other prison workers) have been trained. In the follow ups done, we found that sometimes there are disputes between the prisoners and their guard or prison staff; we noticed that it is not easy for a prisoner to interpose between a prisoner and a guard or staff person and that prison staff need skills that will help them to live peaceful with inmates without harm or conflict. This is why Friends Peace House decided to train some prison staff so that they can cooperate with inmates to resolve disputes that may arise between prisoners and prison staff. We have trained 53 guards.

From 19th November, 2019, 133 persons (67 females and 66 males) were trained as follow:

 - From 2nd - 4th December,2019 : 20 female inmates of Ngoma prison

- From 16-18 December, 2019: two groups were trained simultaneously in Musanze prison located in Northern province of Rwanda, one for Inmates (30 mixed inmates: 15 females and 15 males), another for prison staff (9 females and 19 males)

- From 27th -29th January,2020: 30 new prisoners from Musanze prison were trained (16 females and 14 males)

- From 4th -6th February,2020: 25 prison staff were trained ( 7 females and 18 males)

From the beginning of the project, Friends Peace House trained 169 people detailled  as follow:

      -11 facilitators (5 females and 6 males)

      - 76 female inmates

      - 29 male inmates

      - 53 prison staff ( 16 females and 37 males)

Total: 169 (97 females and 72 males)

All the training done from 19th November, 2019 Friends Peace House used both pre and post-test to evaluate the knowledge before and after the training. This helped Friends Peace House to evaluate the quality of our workshops. We are confident that our facilitators are experienced and qualified to provide workshops of good quality.

We are very grateful to Ms. Curci who helped a lot with fundraising and assisted our facilitators in the last trainings. We are very gratul for her interest in mediation work. 

A quote from one of the prison staff we trained: "Transformational mediation is an amazing program, because it helps a lot in restoring broken relationships.Transformational mediation is not only providing skills to mediate for people, but also helps people to avoid and prevent conflict."

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Friends Peace House trains people to be able to mediate conflicts in their communities and work with their community to decrease violence resulting from conflicts.

Target Group: prisoners, who could themselves benefit from this training and who have the capacity to use these skills to benefit prisons and their communities in return.

This report concerns the project of transformative mediation carried out by Friends Peace House in prison. This year, a financial contribution of 6,701,591Rwfr was deposited to the account of Friends Peace House, in January 2019. The funding aimed at carrying out 15 workshops on transformative mediation to improve the prisoners’ knowledge to fight against all forms of violence, both in prisons and in the community after their release.

To date, 25 prisoners have been trained, of whom 10 have been able to return to their respective communities and have become mediators and trainers for Friends Peace house. Friends Peace House has also trained 11 other trainers and mediators. 5 157 432 Rwfr has ben used for workshops, follow up, and field visits.

 Project Changes

  1. Friends Peace House expected to train 450 inmates from 5 prisons, but due to limited funds, FPH trained 25 inmates of Ngoma prison, 11 trainers, and will train 50 new inmates in December 2019. In total 86 will be trained (11.1% of the targeted number).
  2. The project that was submitted to Global Giving was supposed to come up with 15 workshops. FPH was only able to conduct 4 workshops so far but will carry out 4 moreworkshops.
  3. FPH expected to get 19,547, 099 Rwfr to run the transformative mediation program, but FPH received 6,701,591 Rwfr (34.2%).


  • Through the workshops we learned that when there is not conflict transformation, mediation cannot bring peace; parties have to be aware that it is not us against them but us against the problem.
  • FPH and its trainers also learned many skills from inmate practices for handling conflict.

On 12th November a field visit was organized to meet with the inmate mediators and come up with an updated report. FPH mediators met with 15 inmates since 10 among the 25 trained had been released. The most significant outcome was establishing the mediation rooms in Ngoma prison. Other significant impacts in prisons and in the community included the following:

  • 73 cases were resolved with a settlement rate of around 91% of all cases received for mediation.
  • The referral of 16 cases to FPH mediators saved time and resources for civil court judges. All the cases were handled by FPH mediators.
  • Mediation skills are being used to prevent or deal with conflict in the prison and community.
  • Relationships are being saved between inmates, students, and community members.
  • People are using mediation skills in business situation.
  • People are using mediation skills with close family members.
  • Participants have become professional mediators.
  • Among 10 released prisoners, 3 finished their setences, 3 received a presidential pardon, and 4 were released because they had exemplary behaviors.

The following are the challenges that the mediators presented:

  • Sometime the parties in conflict slow down and become silent. In such a situation, it is a challenge for the mediators to help such people. The mediators FPH trained recommended getting a refresher on how to continue asking questions that could bring back the process.
  • The limited number of mediators relative to the number of cases of conflict was a challenge: sometimes, the parties are not comfortable with some mediators, and having a larger number of mediators can increase the choices of parties in conflict.


Muziranenge Vestine (Social worker, Ngoma Prison):

“I came to work in Ngoma prison three months ago. In my previous endervours, I encountered many violence cases. When I reached here, things were totally different. The mediators are working hard to solve and bring back the relationships broken. The thing that touched me is the methodology of mediation where the mediators accompany the parties in conflict and facilitate them to solve their conflict. This leads to transformation. Mediators are contibuting a lot to handle conflict and dispute; I can testify that mediation has played a great role in Ngoma prison; every one here can say the same thing.”

Inmate X who didn’t want her name to appear:

“When I was called to mediate for the first time, I was not confident and thought things would be worse. I tried using reflection, summarizing, asking open-ended questions, and silence skills. Fortunately I facilitated the parties in conflict and they came up with a solution. I was very happy and the two people are now friends. Since then, I felt confident to mediate different cases of conflicts. I mediated 4 cases and all of them passed through.”


“I’m confident that students are receiving mediation service here at Mwananshuti (a school that helps vulnerable youth, created by Friends Peace House). Having mediators and a listening room here at school is a solution for promoting good relationships between children of different backgrounds that we receive here. I used the mediation skills to facilitate mediation between 4 students, and at school there is a good environment of peace and tolerance.”

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Who are we?

We are a faith based organization

Our vision:

To see Rwandese people living together in good relationship with one another in healthy, well-developed communities.

Our mission:

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:

  1. 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
  2. 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.
  3. 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


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 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.

For the first workshop Christine Curci PHD trained the mediators of Friends Peace House (FPH) who are serving as trainers of mediation at the same time mediators, and for this session eleven mediators were trained, for the second workshop the FPH mediators conducted a free day long workshop, they trained twenty-five inmates under Christine Curci PHD facilitation, and to strengthen the capacities of the latter the third workshop was organised and took place it was a refresher training and was facilitated by mediators under Friends Peace House Facilitation .

up to now 36 persons were trained 

The purpose of the refresher training was to analyse the impact, feasibility and challenges encountered by inmates when they were putting into action the mediation. We are very pleased that our program is having positive impacts in Ngoma prison. From the report given by the trained inmates there are six conflicting cases handled in a satisfactory manner.

We are convinced that prisons are good places to learn and practice mediation, because it is a troubled society, even if it is not easy to serve as a mediator between prisoners who often feel indifferent, but is also a place where there is a need to provide the effort to have people capable of dealing with conflicts. And the experience that anyone can have in a prison would really be a powerful tool for dealing with conflicts everywhere

Among the challenges presented by the inmates, they mentioned: lack of an extended and free space for mediation, there is also the lack of will for mediation for some prisoners to and inadequate experience to treat and deal with some cases.


One of the inmates said

"We are delighted that we benefit doubly: firstly, our life is positively affected and secondly we have a luggage of knowledge useful to help our society, we are capable to help people to discover themselves their role in a conflict and also to make them understand each other, the training has equipped us with the knowledge necessary for interpersonal skills more precisely in the field of communication, we are able to communicate effectively and also we know how to live in peace with others. Our co-prisoners are often interested to read our handouts and they are excited to know how to mediate, we are confident to help our community.


The prison guard told us that there is a positive change in these words:

Before the arrival of this program, we received many conflicting cases, we received reports from inmates that there are cases handled by FPH mediators, I am aware that there are six disputes mediated by the mediators trained by the Friends Peace House (FPH); this indicates the success of the transformative mediation program, there are some concepts of mediation that are frequently used by our prisoners like "He needs empowerment" and “he needs to be recognized” I asked the prisoners and they told me that these are the terms of mediation, it means that mediation is not only useful to mediate but also to avoid conflict. We are very grateful that Friends Peace House and their partners are active in peace building and in the process of rebuilding our Rwandan society”


Actually we noticed that many of the prisoners are thirsty to know what mediation is. This is due to the fact that they have a lot of time to browse our documents, and on the fact that they are always closed each other. Another observation is that the inmates trained have willing and courage to be competent and teamwork, and this was possible because they find time for experience sharing.

We also noticed that the prisoners are engaged a lot in mediation practices and research, which make them experienced and strong when it comes to mediation.

Among our twenty-five prisoners trained, four of them have been released, and they are ready to help the community and to help people to solve their conflict peacefully, we had the chance to meet 2 of the 4 released inmates and that was a way of integrating them into the network of our Mediators

We also want to inform readers that on May 20, 2019 we participated in a conference organized by GlobalGiving that brought together members of the platform to exchange experience and also learn together how to step forward.

We want to thank our donors, you are our strengths and companions to our success, and we thank you very much and stay blessed.

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Organization Information

Friends Peace House

Location: Kigali - Rwanda
Facebook: Facebook Page
Project Leader:
Antoine Samvura
Kigali, Kigali Rwanda
$9,023 raised of $22,500 goal
73 donations
$13,477 to go
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