The Centre for Education, Peace and Psychological Support (CEPAP) is building peace, working with young people, preventing sexual violence and providing one to one psychological support.
CEPAP provides education, counselling, training and support for children (including orphans) and young people. Grassroots counsellors assist people of all ages deal with trauma caused by war and violence, including domestic and war rape. Especially remarkable is the peace building work amongst tribal groups being carried out inland on the High Plateau. In addition, Education Services 2010 in Cambridge has awarded grants of £2000 to fund the first forty vocational apprenticeships for young people who would otherwise be without training or jobs. A team of 30 young people, including six women, were trained to carry out election monitoring during the December 2018 national elections.
Saidi Isaac is the project leader and there are departmental leads for finance, psychological and social care and prevention of sexual violence. There are 14 people in the team who receive very small stipends. The base is in Abeka and there are three local ‘listening rooms’ in areas where there have been serious humanitarian abuse. These are in Makobola, Abembwe (middle plateau of Fizi) and Lusenda where they are working with Burundian refugees. There is a small team working in each area and in addition there are coordinators for youth and peace activities. QCP UK pays the school fees for 27 vulnerable students in Makebola.
Violence of all kinds is endemic. Eastern DRC is an area of considerable instability following massacres and war in the late 1990s and it is also affected by conflicts in neighbouring Rwanda and Burundi. The communities on the middle and high plateaux are very diverse and include many descendants of earlier generations of refugees from these countries who have remained somewhat distinct from the local Bembe people.
CEPAP is doing as much as it can to work for peace and in 2020 they supported the setting up of five youth peace committees mainly based in middle plateau and with refugees in Lusenda. QCP UK was able to send $1000 towards the running costs of the peace committees so they have printed T shirts, bought phones for each committee and held meetings for planning and evaluation.
A grant from Education Services 2010 has helped some young people to do vocational training in tailoring and I.T. Another group are running a small garage in Abeka to maintain and repair motorbikes after training in mechanics. Young people and women have worked together to prevent sexual violence and have set up schemes in schools and in communities. Counsellors have worked with women who have been raped and recently with young girls who have been forced into marriage as teenagers. This was much worse when schools were shut due to Covid 19 and girls were not at school.
Another CEPAP project is the Friends' Musical Group which aim to strengthen social relationships damaged by long-term conflict and are linked to youth peace committees. Their songs rekindle hope, console and heal psychological wounds