Congo Peace Academy
For a long time, security in the democratic republic of Congo has remained abysmal. The nation's leadership has been impaired by coups, endless wars, and violence, from Belgian paternalism to the horrific dictatorship of Mobutu Sese Seko to the assassination of democratic leader Laurent Desire Kabila in 2001. The blend between an unstable government and a failing economy has not provided a favorable environment for a growing and ambitious youth body.
Currently, the province of North Kivu, especially Goma, the largest city in eastern DR Congo, Bunia in Ituri, Fizi, Haut-Plateau, Minembwe, and Kalehe, remain exposed to rebellions, conflicts, and repetitive wars. These instabilities have ruined the economy, leading to higher unemployment rates, thus plunging youth between eighteen and thirty into a sea of social and economic instability. Consequently, these tormented young adults end up joining rebel groups for employment purposes, becoming involved in crimes that ravage their country and kill millions. The youth, therefore, become tools used by corrupt politicians and rebel groups to threaten peace and development in the region
That is the reason why the historical contexts of the democratic republic of the congo require genuine self-determination on the part of citizens to establish lasting peace, security, and development. It implies the achievement of socio-economic autonomy for the youth and women and the establishment of systems and structures guaranteeing political stability and the universal well-being of citizens. Our projects are motivated by the words of Ralph Bunche, an American political scientist, diplomat, and leading actor in the mid-20th-century decolonization process and US civil rights movement, who received the 1950 Nobel Peace Prize for his late 1940s mediation in Israel:
"Peace, to have meaning for many who have known only suffering in both peace and war, must be translated into bread or rice, shelter, health, and education, as well as freedom and human dignity- a steadily better life."
We seek to alleviate and ultimately eradicate the pernicious social and economic insecurities by launching youth empowerment programs that include peace education, leadership, entrepreneurship, et., and emphasize community engagement practices to enable youth to better their communities.
Why Congo Peace Academy
Congo peace academy intends to restore peace by disseminating meaningful conversations to repair the destructions caused by wars and cure inner wounds sustained living under violent conflicts while preventing their repercussions. We offer four mutually reinforcing educational programs: peace education (PE), leadership & management (L&M), entrepreneurship and innovation (E&I), and the modern concept of citizenship (NMC). This innovative curriculum provides a sustainable solution to current societal problems while paving a safer and hopeful future for everyone with its unprecedented opportunities. Interested and qualified applicants are selected based on their leadership qualities, active community engagement, compelling aspirations, and entrepreneurship potentials.
In each of the twenty-six provinces of the democratic republic of the congo, we will select 4 participants per cohort, including two girls and two boys, in total 104 participants every year. The structure of our academy allows participants to meet each other in an environment that promotes peaceful dialogues, exchange of personal life experience, appreciation of cultural diversity, economic freedom, and prevention of further eruption of violent conflicts to eradicate insecurity and violence. The results are not reduced to the number of trainees and resolved conflicts but rather to the imagination and realization of a socio-economic climate allowing the Congolese people to live better together through a network of leaders, peacebuilders, entrepreneurs, and innovators linking the rural areas with cities and provinces with one another. We believe this strategy is unassailably the most effective way of stimulating entrepreneurial economic opportunities for the virtually limitless supply of desperate, unemployed young men and women leading lives of endless economic frustration.
We work closely with organisations such as centre pour leadership et entrepreneuriat du Congo (CLEC), Action of Compassion for the Vulnerable (ACV), and Mission de l'Organisation des Nations Unies pour la Stabilisation en républiue démocratique du Congo (MONUSCO / UN). CLEC will provide us with qualified trainers and competent mentors. ACV will administer trainers and mentors who will focus on practical skills, creativity, and business. The MONUSCO / UN in Goma will provide peacebuilding experts and speakers on security and reconciliation. We will put the 104 selected participants into groups for teamwork and collaboration throughout the program. Each group will be assigned one mentor or advise to supervise the progress of activities. The organizing committee will always be present to organize and facilitate all the activities and address any rising issues. Drawing on our own experience in social entrepreneurship, we will supplement the teachings of other experts with community service activities.
Our educational programs have four learning segments: First, we will host expert talks, guest speakers about peace et development, followed by open discussions. Second, critical thinking about good citizenship values and peace through case studies and scenarios. Third, exchange of life stories by participants in small group discussions. Finally, community project presentations to help them break the circle of poverty. In addition, participants will receive the training to become peace educators in their respective communities. Each group will be required to generate practical business ideas to solve one or two specific problems facing their communities today. The organization will mobilize necessary resources to fund feasible projects, turning societal challenges into profitable businesses.
With an organizing committee and a board of trainers and mentors, we embark every year on a three-month intensive and transformational training with the 104 admitted participants (54 girls and 50 boys) aged between 18 and 28. Our working days are Mondays through Fridays from 9:00 to 16:00 with meal breaks in between. For a poverty-free community, we need to emphasize critical thinking to expand participants' worldviews through readings and reflections that sharpen their ability to think and do. We boost their personal development by offering a safe environment to cultivate personal growth, social skills, and engagement in a motivated, entrepreneurial life. We sharpen their leadership skills by allowing them to use their talents to serve each other and their communities. We promote dialogue, productive conversation, and debate to sustain democracy. We do not just educate and engage young leaders- we provide them with a platform to facilitate a collaborative dialogue on the country's most pressing challenges.
The application will be open online for everyone to apply in the second week of January every year.