Africa Study Visit in Rwanda : Day Ten

Tuesday morning’s session was given by students from NUR’s Student Club for Unity and Reconciliation (SCUR). The club currently has 200 members (some of whom we’d met the day before) and since its inception in 1999 has strived to live up to its name by engaging in a number of activities and programmes, such as school and prison visits that foster national unity. The presentation was given by the chairman of the students Club, and covered the club’s history, its current activities and achievements as well as its challenges. We then moved on to discuss as a group how SCUR could best address those challenges it faces.

Following the discussion, a small group of us visited NUR’s HIV/AIDS clinic. We were welcomed by the clinic’s staff who then gave us a tour of their facilities. They explained to us that they offer students and staff at the university free, discreet HIV testing and counselling services; distribute free condoms, and promote HIV/AIDS awareness through regular campaigns.

In the afternoon, we met the deputy Director of the Centre for Conflict Management. He described how CCM was created in 1999 as a way to address a knowledge gap in the field of genocide, peace and reconciliation studies in Rwanda, and in the Great Lakes Region as a whole. He also stressed that both NUR and CCM are firmly committed to their role as practical and academic contributors to the global eradication of ethnic hatred. To this end, they provide training and dialogue sessions for local organisations, contribute to a range of publications and are developing short courses in topics such as negotiation, mediation and gender.

In the evening, Birasa our programme coordinator from NUR very kindly invited us all to his house for dinner. For most of us it was our first visit to a Rwandan home. Thanks to the hospitality and generosity of Birasa and his wife Clariss, as well as their charming 2 year old son , we were made to feel at home straight away. And the food was fantastic – ‘the best we’ve had in Rwanda’ was the general consensus. (The two Peters and Philip were especially happy with the foo-foo!) . So thanks again to Birasa and his lovely family for a such fantastic evening!