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Great Lakes Region: This is what we do

The Great Lakes Region Working Group is a group of Diaspora citizens from the conflict countries on the region i.e. Uganda, Congo, Burundi & Rwanda. All these countries have common historical experiences of war and violence. As a group, we meet to learn a lot from each other about our turbulent past and how we can use that to bring sustainable peace in the region.

Because of the geo-political problems caused by the regional despots, the conflicts tend to spread tension in all the region inform of refugee influx, cross border violence and wide spread insecurity. Whenever someone from Uganda or Burundi mentioned challenges, someone from Rwanda or Congo could share a similar experience.

Therefore as a measure to create a voice for the diaspora citizens from the GRL, The Hague Peace Projects established this group in 2015. Up to date the group has conducted two annual conferences and other smaller activities to raise awareness, inform and provide host nation, government departments, media, school institutions and the civil society with information about the region.

We strive to strengthen the commitment among the Great Lakes diaspora communities to organize for peace in the region, be involved in lobbying for human rights and take part in networking through meetings. We lobby through our programs to enable the diaspora to contribute to good governance, peacebuilding and accountability in the region.

We advocate for the inclusion of the diaspora in conflict resolution and peacebuilding in the region. Currently the news that comes from the region is dominated by conflict rather than peace. We want the world to know – despite the prevailing conflicts in the region – some peace efforts have been made although the real impact of the efforts are not yet felt by the people.

We are more and more recognized as serious partners, consulted by policy makers. We aim that in Europe, NGO’s, governments seeking to promote rule of law in the Great Lakes region, or the IND seeking expertise in the region, the voice of the diaspora should be heard.

To achieve our objectives we organize different forms of events in the Netherlands ranging from workshops, conferences, social cultural activities and forums to inform, educate and generate solutions.

Presently we have monthly thematic evenings, normally the 2nd Friday of the month, where we invite different expert speakers to help us understand the different dynamics around peace building. Our subjects are peace, elections, gender, minorities, responsible information sharing, human rights issues, civic space and democratic governance. These meetings are open to public and you are warmly welcome to attend the next event, we normally publicize the events beforehand.

 

Integration Caravan is visiting…. Dordrecht!

The Integration Caravan, a project created and organised by our Syrian working group, is visiting Dordrecht on saterday 26th of October. This will be the 5th visit of a city in the Netherlands. Come and visit us at Scheffersplein, between 11 and 3.

We create spaces where community members just like you can meet a refugee and engage in constructive dialogue. Also we give the Dutch people an opportunity to get to know refugee ask important questions such as ‘how is it to start a new life in the Netherlands? what should the refugees learn about our country? And what do we have in common and what can we share?’

We believe that healthy communities are the ones in which its community members can talk to each other despite their different backgrounds. You can hear stories you don’t find in the news papers.

All in all it was a very successful way of talking to people you normally hardly meet and create mutual understanding. Reactions in previsous cities were truly positive. We are very motivated to take this further to Dordrecht. Check our calendar to see where we’re going next time!

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Coming soon: The Integration Caravan

Great news, we have recAll-You-Need-is-Love-caravaneived funding that will enable the Integration Caravan project! The project conceived by HPP’s Syrian working group can be materialised thanks to tireless fundraising efforts and the consequent generous grant given by Wijdoenmee.nu.

Soon, in marketplaces all over the country, the Integration Caravan will set up camp and this group of enthusiastic young Syrian refugees will do their best to connect to their new homeland. By reaching out to local communities, sharing their stories, culture, and hopes and wishes for the future, they are determined to create a dialogue with the wider public. In this way they want to break the ice and overcome any reservations the public feels towards the Syrian newcomers.

Keep an eye on HPP’s Facebook and website for updates on events, locations and how you can contribute.

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