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Radio Reconciliation in DRC

May 27, 2011

UN Photo: Child Boards MONUC Helicopter for Repatriation in DRC

Radio is an essential tool for facilitating dialogue and reconciliation, especially in the Equateur Province of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

In 2009, a dispute over access to fishing and farming rights between the Munzaya and the Enyele communities escalated into serious violence, causing hundreds of deaths and the displacement of over 130,000 people. Search has been working for the past year toward intensive reconciliation and peacebuilding efforts, using radio as a key tool in the process; and the two communities are beginning to heal their divides. We recently organized a traditional reconciliation ceremony that brought the Enyele and Munzaya communities together.  The event included sermons, folk dancing and an affirmation of the communities’ commitments to maintaining peace through a non-aggression pact.

The video below shows the signing of the nonaggression pact between the Enyele and Munzaya communities on March 31, 2011.

Search for Common Ground is producing radio programming that promotes mutual understanding and accurate information; dispelling rumors and misinformation that aggravate tensions in the region.

One specific radio program, Tosangana Lisusu (“Let’s Meet Again”) features interviews on the repatriation process as well as other refuge issues and aims to facilitating stronger relations and reconciliation between local communities.  The show portrays positive models for conflict resolution and information sharing.

These programs are broadcast throughout the Equateur Province by five local radio stations in order to reach the most remote parts of the region, including Congolese refugees still displaced to refugee camps because of the violence.  With the upcoming launch of the Dongo Community Radio Station, the peacebuilding programs will reach and even larger audience.

The Dongo Community Radio Station will be jointly managed by representatives of the various local communities, including both men and women. This station marks a big step in improving lives and security of those living in the Equateur province, making information more accessible and more relevant to the people living there.

By providing accurate and impartial information on crucial peacebuilding issues such as repatriation, security sector reform, access to justice and local governance, radio continues to reduce misunderstandings and to restore broken relationships among the people in the Equateur Province.

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