Igiti cy’Umuvumu Association is a community-based initiative initiated by the beneficiaries of a reconciliation programme implemented by Prison Fellowship International in Bugesera district. The programme involved sensitising prisoners who participated in the 1994 Genocide about the importance of adopting a guilty plea at the Gacaca courts and asking for forgiveness. The programme also targeted genocide survivors, encouraging them to forgive those who participated in the killings of their beloved ones.
The programme worked alongside the community and assist released perpetrators with the survivors of Rweru Sector to come together, revisit their past, restore relationships and envision their future. It is in this context that the beneficiaries decided to create an association that could enable them to continue working for sustainable reconciliation within their community. And they named it “Igiti cy’Umuvumu”.
Since its creation, the members of Igiti cy’Umuvumu have embarked on a collective process of unity and reconciliation, through activities aimed at achieving forgiveness and development.
Genocide perpetrators have acknowledged crimes of the past and have committed to living together in peace with their survivor neighbours; the survivors on the other hand, have forgiven those who killed their relatives. Collectively, they have made a choice not only to move forward, but also to move forward together as neighbours and friends.
The members of Igiti cy’Umuvumu Association have participated in various reconciliation programs in Rweru Sector and neighbouring sectors, encouraging those who participated in looting the properties of genocide victims to pay amicably, and encouraging genocide survivors to forgive those who are not in an economic position to pay. The Association has also undertaken socio-economic projects including farming.
"We are now considering educating our children for peace, teaching them about genocide history and engaging them in reconciliation as means of ensuring a peaceful society, which is different from what we experienced in the past", said Catherine, the Vice-President of the association, while discussing the work of the association during a telephone interview of 31 May 2016.
The National Unity and Reconciliation Commission (NURC), Ministry of Agriculture, SOFA Rwanda, Search for Common Ground, the United Nations Development Program, and PFI have provided support to the association,