Tuesday, 20 December 2011

Conference on Community Security and Community-based DDR (USA and Nederland)

From 28th of November to 8th of December 2011, I participated in serie of conferences on community security and community-based DDR in The Hague, Netherland . WFM-IGP’s partners organizing the conference are the Dutch Institute for International Relations ‘Clingendael’, the Dutch Peace, Security and Development Network (PSD Network), and the Global Partnership for the Prevention of Armed Conflict (GPPAC). PSDN, an initiative of the Dutch Ministry for Foreign Affairs, and Clingendael bring together various actors including policy makers, NGOs, business organizations and knowledge institutes on issues of peace, security and development.

The final conference and international policy meetings on, “Community security and community-based DDR,” have bring together representatives from civil society and the UN, in order to share knowledge and enhance the scope and sustainability of the lessons learned about community security and DDR, as well as explore the potential for practical implementation at the grass roots level with policy makers in New York.

As the founder and Executive Director of the Training Centre for the Development of Ex-Combatants (CEDAC), I was invited to participate and serve in ensuring the content of the conference is well informed by broad range of different experiences from around the world.

Conference in The Hague (1st December-2nd December 2011)

These conferences started in Conflict Research Unit ‘Clingendael’: Bezuidenhoutseweg 161 The Hague; third floor on 1st of December 2011 with a meeting of local expert on DDR from Burundi (Eric NIragira), DRC(Henri BORA),Colombia( Ildefonso Henao) and South Sudan (Geoffrey .L. Duke) with the participation of international expert, policy makers and practitioners.
The meetings of local expert was followed the next day by a meeting with presentations of key study of Burundi, Colombia, DRC and South of Sudan.
The meeting started with Welcome and introduction by Hans Rouw and Luc van de Goor (Head of the Clingendael Conflict Research Unit) followed by a speech of the representative of Ministry of foreign affairs of Nederland Government.
After speeches, participants got an opportunity to assist the presentation of the synthesis report of the expert working group and share views and lesson learned. The afternoon was characterized by the case studies and I took the opportunity to start with my work in CEDAC on the reintegration. I focused my presentation on two aspects of the work of CEDAC in different activities of fighting against armed violence and the socioeconomic reintegration of ex-combatants. The first aspect was different campaigns of sensitization against small arms and light weapons realized in Burundi with the support of UNDP and GRIP. Many ammunition and guns have been collected by CEDAC since 2005.
According to the socio-economic reintegration of ex-combatants, we explained how CEDAC helps ex-combatants in generating income with the support of different partners with a particular attention to UNDP. Participants got an opportunity to ask a different question at the presentation which was highly appreciated. The meeting in The Hague was closed by the presentation of other case studies of Colombia, DRC and south Sudan..

Conference in New York (5th December-7th December 2011)

The conference started on 5th December 2011 by a meeting of local experts with the staff of WFM-IGP at WFM-IGP in New York. The objective of the meeting was to present our work and share the objectives of the conference with UNDP.

The conference with UNDP started on 6th December 2011 at Headquarters of the United Nations Development Program (UNDP). After a welcoming and introduction of UNDP representative (BCPR) and Clingendael, the floor was given to the local experts from Colombia and Burundi to present their work on reintegration programs. As the local experts from DRC and South of Sudan didn’t get U S, their presentations have been realized by experts from Clingendael Conflict Research Unit. The methodology of the meeting was the same as in the conference in The Hague. After a presentation of each local expert, participants asked questions for clarification.
The model of Burundi was highly appreciated and the UNDP representative (BCPR) manifested his will to continue focus his work on Burundi.
The conference was closed by the giving of recommendations focusing on how to improve effective reintegration in the field.

The following day, we held a meeting dedicated to Burundi with participants coming from different organizations and UN. The objective was to share with them the actual situation on reintegration and insure discuss opportunities of implementing other activities in Burundi. The meeting was closed with a high commitment to work in Burundi.

My presentation at International House, 7th of December

With the help of two friends from University of Columbia, I got an opportunity to be invited to speak to people in New York about the work of CEDAC at International House. International House is an exceptional residential of 700 members selected from over 100 countries. More than housing for graduate students and trainees in New York City, it offers a unique experience in cross cultural exchange that transcends the classroom.
The mission of International House is to enable its members from around the world to live and learn together in a diverse residential community that builds life-long qualities of leadership, respect and friendship.
This mission is achieved by daily interaction among its residents through programs, facilities and residential life designed to foster diversity of thought and experience.
International House was conceived by the late YMCA official Harry Edmonds following a chance encounter with a lonely Chinese graduate student in 1909. The philanthropy of John D. Rockefeller Jr. and the Cleveland H. Dodge family led to its construction at 500 Riverside Drive in 1924.
The international House also hosts speakers each year, previous speakers include Nelson Mandela, and other US and international politicians. On 7th December 2011, I was the guest to speak at international House in front of a large number of interesting people included directors of foundations who were interested in CEDAC and Burundi. I can mention here, Mr Jim Luce, a US philanthropic. As Founder & CEO of Orphans International Worldwide (www.oiww.org), he is working with a strong network of committed professionals to build interfaith, interracial, Internet-connected orphanages in Haiti and Indonesia, and creating a new, family-care model for orphans in Sri Lanka and Tanzania.

Jim founded the James Jay Dudley Luce Foundation to support young global leadership impacting positive social change and the NGOs that support them.
Then, my presentation was focused on the work of CEDAC and different projects already implemented in Burundi. Participants appreciated the work of CEDAC and the determination of the leader of CEDAC. “The model of CEDAC could be used in other countries that experienced war in different places of the world.”
The presentation was closed by a gift from the Director of International House dedicated to the Director of CEDAC.


The different conferences were very interesting for CEDAC and Burundi and I seize this opportunity to say that in these two weeks of meetings in Nederland and USA, I would like to thank everyone who took a moment to let me share the project in Burundi and thank you for the contribution and encouragement for the work of CEDAC in Burundi.

Eric Niragira

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