After 2 years of COVID restrictions, it was a real joy to once again hold our annual Africa Great Lakes Peace Camp! We brought together over 50 youth from Burundi, DR Congo, Rwanda, Tanzania & Uganda. It continues to be a life-changing experience as youth build vital life & peacebuilding skills (conflict transformation, entrepreneurship, leadership, and the use of sports, arts & games in peacebuilding) all in a fun camp environment. It’s creating friendship and understanding in a region impacted by genocide and violent conflict that spills across borders, causing fear and mistrust.
After Peace Camp … youth return to their communities as peace catalysts. They start/strengthen peace clubs and launch activities to respond to local conflicts/issues – such as creating community dramas & awareness campaigns, planting trees, caring for orphans & other vulnerable in their midst. Year-round, we support and mentor peace clubs and peacebuilding activities of our Peace Camp alumni.
SOME HIGHLIGHTS FROM 2022
In Tanzania … Advocating for Girls’ Education
Meet Lothi (red shirt). He attended Peace Camp in 2022. Together with his fellow Peace Camp alumni and peers in Tanzania, they launched an education campaign to encourage girls to stay in school; and raised funds to provide washable pads to 168 girls (lack of menstruation products often forces girls to miss class/drop out of school). They also launched an environment campaign, planting nearly 200 fruit & shade trees at a school in a poor community.
In DR Congo … Caring for Orphans
Vision Club continues to visit orphans at risk and bring food, clothing & school supplies. With support from APOL, they provided a nutritious breakfast porridge as well as a Christmas lunch to nearly 150 orphans, many of whom fled conflict-ridden areas and are severely malnourished. Both Vision Club Goma and Vision Club Kako are impacted by the ongoing violence in eastern Congo between rebel and government forces – it’s estimated that there are 120 armed groups in operation. We pray for dialogue and understanding, for a peaceful resolution. For an overview of the complex crisis
In Rwanda … A New Peace Club
Meet Stana. After Peace Camp last summer, he shared his learning with peers and started a peace club at his church (pictured above). They meet regularly to share their challenges & encourage each other. They’re working on plans for upcoming peacebuilding activities in their community.
New to the APOL Leadership Team …
At our Annual Board Meeting in Dec (bottom row, middle), it was a pleasure to welcome aboard some new directors! All these young professionals have Peace Camp experience – as participants and volunteers/staff. We’re thankful for their commitment to APOL and excited to see their expertise and efforts infuse new energy & innovation.
Left to right: (top row) Alain Nasekwa, DR Congo Lead; Chanelle Irakoze, Burundi Lead; Kerika Vincent Olelemoyan, Tanzania Lead; (bottom row) Hyacintha Uwamahoro, Secretary/Treasurer; Francis Karache, Rwanda Lead. Congrats to all!
And Our Big News …
In the Fall, a small group of angel investors helped us to purchase waterfront property in Rwanda as part of our vision to develop an eco-campsite that will be a base for Peace Camp & other youth training events, generate income for our programs, and offer youth experience in entrepreneurship, tourism & hospitality.
In 2023 … we look forward to seeing the development of the eco-campsite and to holding our 12th Annual Youth Peace Camp in August.
A very big thank-you to all of our donors and angel investors for your continued support of youth peace in the Great Lakes Region of Africa.
Together, we are making a difference in our world with God’s love & peace!
Join us! Make an investment in youth today!