Democratic Republic of Congo DRC
Entertainment and Education campaigns to increase awareness of conflicts drivers
Repression is taking a lift in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Tensions are rising as the electoral process is postponed in a so called « glissement »
This situation imparts a sense of urgency to the intervention, since this provides leaders and vested interests with an opportune moment to manipulate the justice system, re-stigmatize enemies, accentuate divisions, co-opt the media and civil society and, in effect, increase insecurity in the region and people’s reliance on exclusive in and outgroups and auto defense mechanisms mostly linked with political and economic rights.
In response, Radio La Benevolencija undertakes a peace-building media project that aims to contribute to long term stability and peaceful coexistence within and between the three countries of the Great Lakes Region by addressing the regional drivers of conflict through a behaviour change communications (BCC) intervention.
In the 12 years of its existence, RLB has developed a unique and effective set of tools to address the psychological drivers of conflict in the Great Lakes region, based on academic research into the origins and dynamics of genocide and mass atrocity (the continuum of violence model) and education and entertainment (E&E) theories.
The Behaviour Change Communication campaign (BCC), aiming at fostering positive change for conflict transformation, targets the general population (youth and women included), leaders, local media and civil society to contribute to the stated outcomes through the following activity strands:
- Regional Education & Entertainment campaign targeting the general population (radio soaps)
- Grassroots network mobilisation (special interest groups -women, youth- and media observer networks)
- Regional Education & Entertainment campaign targeting leaders (radio and TV debates, magazines, platforms for dialogue).
When the Ruzizi plain starts talking….
RLB brings together different socio-economic groups from the Ruzizi Plain to have a dialogue on the reasons why stereotyping of national or ethnic identities is still ever present.
From these cross-border discussions it became clear that integration and regional peacebuilding will only benefit from a better understanding of how power brokers frame hardship, trauma and injustice in terms of divisions between identity-based groups, both within societies and across borders. Participants in these cross border conversations are becoming incresingly aware of the need to resist political manipulation and refrain from scapegoating the other… just for being the other.
Anti Hate speech campaigns
Since 2006, RLB produces and broadcasts a very popular radio drama named Kumbuka Kesho ("Remember tomorrow" in Kiswahili) which adresses group trauma and psychological background of group conflict in Eastern DRC and the Grate Lake Region. This radio drama is broadcasted in 25 community media outlets based in South and North Kivu, mainly in remote zones affected by armed conflicts. Beyond the radio dramas, RLB’s entertainment and education (E&E) strategy also includes production and broadcasting of short format radio sketches, factual programmes, as well as community dialogue and debate sessions, theatre performances and College tour debates. This communication strategy focused largely on youth in the Rusizi plains.
Youth debates on positive leadership
In 2016, a Memorandum of Understanding with Radio Okapi, the media led by MONUSCO (United Mission Organisation Stabilisation Mission) in the DRC was finalized. The production of ‘Jeunes Leaders’, a factual discussion programme in a ‘magazine’ format addressing an audience of young, educated people 18+, mostly in the urban centres of the DRC. It is aimed at preventing violence during the election process in the DRC by initiating dialogue processes, inter alia, between young representatives of civil society and special guests (comprising popular media figures, role models and maybe even electoral officers in the context of DRC elections). The program motto is "Attack Problems, not People" and the message themes are sequenced, alternating between straight "recognition" discussions of what hate speech consists of and what active bystanders in the DRC need to do to improve their country, and themes that are "en vogue' among young audiences in the DRC.