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Program of Socio-economic Training and Job Placement for Young Ex-Soldiers in North Kivu
an article by Dunia Katembo
PEREX-C General Coordinator

Believing that peace cannot be constructed in the minds of men if they are suffering and unhappy, the non-governmental organization PEREX-C has been working since 2003 in war-torn North Kivu in the east of the Democratic Republic of the Congo to train ex-soldiers and return them to jobs in civilian life.

PEREX-C stands for "Programme of Training and Socio-Economic Reinsertion of Young and Vulnerable Ex-Combatants." Its headquarters is located in the city of Butembo, central neighborhood of the commune of Kimeni, and it works through the city of Butembo, the territory of Beni and Lubero as well as the city of Beni.

Here are some of their actions:

Counting the votes for barza representatives
click here for other photos from PEREXC

Beginning in 2004, in collaboration with SEIPI, PEREXC convinced young soldiers of the Mai-Mai militias to take part in the peace process following the peace accords of Sun City in 2003. Later that year, in collaboration with MONUC/Butembo, the organization convinced Mai-Mai militia commanders and their bodyguards to quit the armed resistance and join the demobilization center to be integrated into the community, following the sensibilization and reintegration of over 80 ex-soldiers.

An agricultural cooperative, named COOPEREXC, was set up in 2005 by PEREXC to facilitate agricultural and artisanal production by over 150 ex-combatants. The German NGO Agro-Action Allemande has provided 2000 kilograms of potatoes to help its development in 2006, and the cooperative continues to grow to the present time.

Over 400 young ex-combatants were trained in 2007 in occupations including coiffure and mechanics enabling them to obtain employment and reinsertion in the economy and community.

Barzas have been created by PEREXC for youth in the city of Butembo since January 2008. A barza is a village-based, inter-communal forum for conflict resolution, based on African traditional rituals of reconciliation and non-violent settlement of local conflicts. They allow youth to discuss, exchange and inform each other about peace, democracy and good governance.

As of July, 2008, PEREXC organized elections in the barzas for representatives to work with other democratic structures, and since then they have conducted a number of training workships for young peace animators.

Finally, since November 2008 PEREXC is identifying people in Butembo who have been displaced by war.


Question(s) related to this article:

"Put down the gun and take up the pen", What are some other examples

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Here are photos sent to CPNN from PEREX-C in the Democratic Republic of the Congo:

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This report was posted on January 2, 2009.