An important aim of our peacebuilding has been to help communities to heal and be reconciled to each other so that they grow together as communities. The first step is forgiveness. Reconciliation begins with healing past hurts and framing a vision for a better future. Esther Mombo and Cécile Nyiramana give a flavor of Quaker peacebuilding in East and Central Africa, a region that has seen devastating internal conflicts in the last 20 years. Directly affected by these conflicts, and driven by the belief that all are made in the image of God, Quakers have been challenged to respond. Esther and Cécile explore that response and the difference it has made. They tell the inspiring stories of those who have been led to build a lasting peace in their communities. They also look at the peacebuilding tools used and developed by Quakers, and at how the themes of their work are universal.
Esther Mombo is a member of Highlands Yearly Meeting, Kenya, and Professor of African Church History, Gender and Theology at St. Paul’s University. She has studied the impact of conflict and violence on family, church and society, and calls for African communities to be empowered through education. Cécile Nyiramana, of Rwanda Yearly Meeting, holds a degree in Clinical Psychology and has worked for peace since 1999. She founded Women in Dialogue – an initiative that brings together widows, genocide survivors and perpetrators’ wives – and works for African Leadership & Reconciliation Ministries (ALARM-Rwanda).