Radio La Benevolencija works through and with the media and media-related grassroots initiatives to build peace, tolerance, and understanding in Rwanda. The organisation aims to encourage self-empowerment of minorities and other groups who are victims of ethnic or other forms of hate and/or group violence.
Radio La Benevolencija gives people (victims, bystanders and perpetrators) insights in how group violence evolves around polarisation within their environment, how they can contribute to prevent this type of violence in the future by having a better understanding of their own history and by putting the request for public history/memory telling on the agenda of all victims. By doing so, the organisation wishes to achieve a behavioural change process within the target groups, through sensitisation, information and education.
- Production of a successful radio drama, listened to by 84% of Rwandans.
- Production of a very successful TV Talk Show dealing with controversial topics.
- Existence of a strong network of listeners and change agents in the country.
Reconciliation in Musambira
In one of their contacts with the listeners of Musekeweya, the organisation's radio drama, the script writers discovered an interesting case of reconciliation in Musambira province. In Musambira, there were two villages, one populated by mainly Hutus, and the other Tutsis. Many in the Tutsi village had been killed by the Hutus during the genocide. Even years after the events of 1994, relations between the two villages were tense.
The head of one of the villages was an avid listener of Musekeweya. The show highlights how people and attitudes can change. This captured the village leader's imagination and he decided that if the people in the show could change, so could the villages. He gathered the village members together, who all agreed it was time for a change. He contacted his counterpart in the other village, and persuaded the district authorities to help him in his efforts.
Gradually both villages began to visit each other, and growing crops together. Eventually the Hutu village agreed to pay for damage committed during the genocide. And now tensions between the two communities have dissolved, and they live side by side in peace.