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The history of Rwanda has been marked by politically motivated ethnic discrimination and repression which repeatedly escalated into episodes of mass killings and eventually led to a well-orchestrated genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda. The genocide claimed the lives of more than one million people while its execution was marked by an unprecedented high level of mass involvement by the civilian population. In addition to the massive number of deaths, the genocide left behind countless orphans, widows and severely traumatized individuals. Immense personal losses were exacerbated by the destruction of the wider society’s fundaments.
In order to effectively deal with the long-lasting consequences of the 1994 Genocide, the Rwanda Government and humanitarian assistance organisations have established initiatives that foster healing and reconciliation processes in Rwanda. Many projects were introduced to address the consequences at individual, family and community level.
Heal me, I heal you
The community-based sociotherapy approach, in Rwanda known as Mvura Nkuvure (heal me, I heal you), is also one of the approaches that was introduced in Rwanda as a contribution to psychosocial wellbeing, as well as unity and reconciliation. Since 2005, Mvura Nkuvure has been implemented in Rwanda after the approach had been developed by a Dutch Sociotherapist, Cora Dekker, in co-creation with Eglise Anglican du Rwanda (EAR), Byumba Diocese. It started on small scale, first in the northern part of the country and later in the south-east. Based on the remarkable outcomes of the program and the engagement of local communities, the program implementation was expanded in 2014 to eight more districts across the country. From 2014 till 2016 the Community Based Sociotherapy Program (CBSP) was implemented by a consortium consisting of Prison Fellowship Rwanda (PFR), EAR Byumba Diocese and Duhumurizanye Iwacu Rwanda (DIR).
During the implementation of CBSP, the consortium experienced the great value and need of building on the existing capacities within the communities themselves when it comes to conflict resolution and restoring social relationships. To ensure effective scale up and sustainability of the programmatic activities, the consortium established a local Rwandan organisation (Community Based Sociotherapy/ CBS Rwanda).