Chantal Marie Ingabire works as a senior researcher for Community Based Sociotherapy in Rwanda and a part-time lecturer at the University of Rwanda. She holds a master’s degree in Medical Anthropology from the University of Amsterdam and a PhD in Public Health from Maastricht University, the Netherlands. She has done extensive and diverse health research and currently interested in exploring the interlinkage between mental health, psychosocial support, and peacebuilding processes in post-genocide Rwanda with a particular emphasis on youth. She is coordinating research that explores the dynamism of intergenerational transmission of trauma and violence among youth, an innovative research that will generate evidence needed for policy and practice. Dr. Ingabire has also been engaged in consultancy work with various organizations such as the World Bank, GIZ, Knowledge Translation Network (KTNet) Africa, and the Wageningen Centre for Development Innovation (CDI). Dr. Ingabire is also a member of the editorial board of the Rwanda Medical Journal.
The 1994 genocide against the Tutsi took the lives of more than one million people within a period of hundred days, making it the worst tragedy of the decade. Many Rwandans were affected psychologically by the traumatic events experienced and witnessed. Various mechanisms to deal with the consequences of the violence and the high number of genocide-related crimes were set up. A major one was the community justice system known as Gacaca, with an overarching goal to achieve truth, justice and reconciliation. Another mechanism to achieve the latter was the initiation of the National Unity and Reconciliation Commission (NURC). In 2015, NURC projected reconciliation among the general population at 92.5%, a percentage perceived to be high considering that reconciliation is a long process with many facets. Other studies argue for interpretations of reconciliation that are more nuanced than the elite-imposed one, perceiving reconciliation as a long-term process that unfolds on local levels. Some intergenerational issues among the second generation were also reported namely feelings of mistrust, hatred and revenge and challenges in developing and maintaining interpersonal relationships with peers. Lack of attention for this transmission and of inclusion of youth in reconciliation programs that explicitly address their specific struggles at individual, family and community level, will reduce their propensity to reconciliation and subsequently jeopardize sustainable peace. The study will be conducted among Rwandan youth with different socio-historical backgrounds (born from perpetrators, survivors, mixed families, ex-gacaca judges and new returnees), aged between 18 and 22 years to evaluate the ways youth gives meaning to reconciliation-related experiences; identify promoting and hindering factors of reconciliation, explore differences and similarities between programs that promote reconciliation and peace among the youth and their effectiveness and lastly; formulate bottom-up recommendations for policy and practice.