Assessing Restored Trust Among Survivor and Perpetrators of the 1994 Rwandan Genocide: An Outcome Evaluation of Cows for Peace


Muhanga District, Rwanda, May 2017

A framework for peace building that bears relevance to post-genocide Rwanda is Lederach’s (2003) theory of conflict transformation, which focuses on: (a) recognizing the painful parts of the past, (b) realizing that the future is shared, and (c) necessitating present cooperation between conflicted parties. Ultimately, conflict transformation and reconciliation hinge on relationship building between the parties and innovative ways to create the space for this restored trust and reconciliation to occur. This study will evaluate the long-term inter-group and economic outcomes of Cows for Peace (CFP), a three-component program in Rwanda that mobilizes collective action between survivors and perpetrators of the genocide through: (1) psychoeducation on trauma and conflict transformation; (2) peer support cell groups; and (3) randomly assigned cooperative cow raising between genocide survivors and their direct perpetrators. The study design will be an interrupted time series design with seven measurement points over 20 months.


CARSA CFP Trainers, Muhunga District, May 2017

Collaborators: Christophe MbonyingaboDarcie A.P. Delzell; Jordan Snyder


CREDIT: E. Kang, Kigali, 2015

HIV Stigma and Social Distance: Application of Conflict Transformation Intervention Principles in Rwanda

An important facet of addressing HIV-related stigma is to minimize the “othering” of PLHIV by closing the social distance between PLHIV and members of their communities. In peace studies, the theory of conflict transformation – “a process of engaging with and transforming relationships, interests, discourses that support the continuation of violent conflict” (Lederach, 1998) – holds promise in shaping programming aimed at reducing various forms of HIV stigma. To consider this possibility, we are examining levels of HIV-stigma among 200 Rwandans who participate in Cows For Peace (CFP), a faith-based reconciliation program that address long-standing conflict between survivors of the 1994 genocide and their direct perpetrators.

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Christophe Mbonyingabo, Kigali, 2014









Exposure to the 1994 Genocide in Rwanda and Survivor Attitudes Towards Génocidaires: A 20-Year Postscript

In this cross-sectional study we examined inter-group attitudes towards génocidaires and their predictors among survivors of the 1994 genocide in Rwanda. A two-stage cluster random survey of 448 eligible adults in selected households from 5 districts in Rwanda was conducted in 2013-14. We examined the relationship between exposure to genocide events and multiple measures of stereotypes and prejudice towards génocidaire among 448 genocide survivors. More exposure to genocide events was directly associated with increased traumatic stress symptoms, higher attribution of societal stressors to the genocide, and higher negative attitudes towards génocidaires. Attribution of societal stressors to the genocide mediated the relationship between exposure to genocide evens and negative attitudes towards génocidaires, accounting for 34% of the total effect.   Traumatic stress was also a mediator between exposure to genocide events and negative attitudes towards génocidaires, accounting for 45% of the total effect. Regardless of the level of exposure to genocide events, a survivor will likely attribute current stressors to the genocide to the extent that they are experiencing traumatic stress symptoms. Vestiges of traumatization, negative attributions and impressions towards génocidaires, embedded within a cultural context of “chosen amnesia” about the genocide events, necessitate both remembrance of progress and honest acknowledgement of the complex task of reconciliation among Rwandans in a post-conflict society.

Collaborators: Christophe MbonyingaboDarcie A.P. Delzell