Search for Common Ground/Burundi - In January 1995, Washington-based Search for Common Ground launched an initiative to help defuse ethnic conflict in Burundi. It maintains an office in Bujumbura and operates programmes aimed at stopping the killing and preparing the ground for national reconciliation. Projects include a radio station, Studio Ijambo (wise words); and the Center for Women, where some 200 Hutu and Tutsi women meet every week. Studio Ijambo employs a staff of both Hutu and Tutsi workers and produces about 15 hours a week of news, public affairs and cultural programming. In the past, radio, which is the single most important source of information for many Burundians, was used by authorities as a tool to promote fear and mistrust, but Studio Ijambo serves as an instrument to bridge the ethnic gap and to restore peace. In addition to news, public affairs, and cultural programming, Studio Ijambo also produces a weekly radio drama featuring a Hutu family and a Tutsi family who live next door to each other. The production, entitle Ababanyi Ni Tebwe (Our Neighbours, Ourselves) shows how, despite the potential for conflict, these neighbours are able to reconcile their differences. The Center for Women, which is based in Bujumbura, promotes co-operation and understanding between Burundi’s communities, including a programme promoting reconciliation between women displaced by the conflict and their former neighbours. One of the Center’s training programmes provides women with conflict resolution skills to be applied at the community level. The Center also operates a conference centre, providing the infrastructure to bring together women from all segments of society, including weekly roundtable discussions attended by women from all ethnic groups. Search for Common Ground also sponsors political dialogue between political leaders, co-ordinated by South African former MP Jan van Eck, and participates in the Great Lakes Policy Forum. Address: Old East Building, Avenue des Etats-Unis
Place de l’Indépendence, Bujumbra, Burundi.  tel: + 257 241 944/216 332; fax: +257 217 408.  email: ; .  Contact: Shamil Idriss, project director 

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Last update:  13 Jan 2001