Program

Oral

The ways of grassroots communities: an ethnographic inquiry on trauma healing and reconciliation in northern Rwanda

[Speaker] Molnar, Yuko:1
1:University of London (LSHTM) (United Kingdom)

Objective: Northern Rwanda experienced war between 1990 and 2000, including 1994 genocide against Tutsi. For security reasons, international aid intervention to this area has been extremely limited, whereas grassroots communities have played a significant role in psychosocial recovery of the people. This research aimed to explore people's experiences of the ways in which grassroots communities have coped with psychosocial aftermaths since this decade in the context of limited aid. Methods: Thematic analysis of ethnographic observation and narrative interviews with key informants from a rural village. Results: Key informants experienced psychosocial healing and reconciliation through participating in faith-based meetings and neighbourhood-based cooperatives. These community organisations provided: time stability and a future-orientated perspective; opportunities for connecting to the other; and mutual support. Through participation, individuals living in "the traumatic past", where helplessness and mistrust were dominant, came to experience connectedness, generated trust, and developed a focus on positive aspects of present lives.
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