In Burundi, Rose Nyandwi is one of 500 mediators in the UN Women supported Network for Peace and Dialogue. Photo: UN Women/Bruno Gumyubumwe
Mediating local conflicts
Burundi’s civil war from 1993 to 2005 cost 300,000 lives. Strife that erupted in 2015 sent more than 230,000 people fleeing across the border. Despite the difficulties, women have not given up on their communities or, indeed, their country.
One such person is 59-year-old Rose Nyandwi, who lost both her father and her husband to conflict. Refusing to bow to despair, she became a mediator with the Women Network for Peace and Dialogue, established and organized with the support of UN Women. Its more than 500 members are active in all 129 municipalities of Burundi. Mediators like Nyandwi have initiated dialogues aimed at preventing violent outbreaks. By the women’s own count, in the last year alone they’ve directly addressed over 5,000 local conflicts that might otherwise have become politicized and therefore destabilizing.
Employing skills honed through UN Women training sessions, the women tackle family, social and land-related clashes and counter rumours and exaggerated fears with accurate information. They also help survivors of violence seek justice in court. At times, they mediate between protesters and security forces.