Igiti cy'Umuvumu Association

Location: Eastern Province (Gikoma Village, Batima Cell, Rweru Sector, Bugesera District)

In order to promote the economic wellbeing of its members, the association has also established a cooperative called Twisungane (Let’s get together), which deals in agriculture and animal husbandry.

The Association

In 2003, PFI started a program dedicated to sensitizing prisoners who participated in the 1994 Genocide Against the Tutsi about the importance of adopting a guilty plea at Gacaca and asking for forgiveness. The program also targeted genocide survivors, encouraging them to forgive those who participated in the killings of their beloved ones.

Initially, this program focused on Rweru Sector in Bugesera District, at the beginning of the Gacaca process. People who were sensitized in prisons revealed the truth of what happened during the genocide, providing vital information to genocide survivors about where their relatives were killed during the genocide and who looted their properties.

In 2005, many genocide perpetrators were released following a presidential communiqué, and PFI decided to bring together those released perpetrators with the survivors of Rweru Sector, to provide them with advice on how they can live together and restore the unity that characterized their relationship before the 1994 Genocide Against the Tutsi. 

As the two groups learned to live together again in harmony, PFI built 30 houses for those in need (25 for survivors and 5 for perpetrators). During the construction of those houses, PFI, together with Rweru sector leaders, had the idea of creating Igiti cy’Umuvumu.

Activities and Achievements

Since its creation, the members of Igiti cy’Umuvumu have embarked on a collective process of unity and reconciliation, through activities aimed at achieving forgiveness and development.

Genocide perpetrators have acknowledged their crimes of the past and have committed to living together in peace with their survivor neighbors; the survivors on the other hand, have forgiven those who killed their relatives. Collectively, they have made a choice not only to move forward, but also to move forward together as neighbors and friends.

Given the impact of Igiti cy’Umuvumu in contributing to the reconciliation process in Rweru Sector, many partners have since joined the association to lend additional support to their unity and reconciliation program.

The National Unity and Reconciliation Commission (NURC), Ministry of Agriculture, SOFA Rwanda, Search for Common Ground, the United Nations Development Program, and PFI, to name but a few, have provided support to the association, in order to promote the wellbeing of its members through agriculture, animal husbandry, etc.

In addition to reconciling members of the association itself, Igiti cy’Umuvumu has participated in various reconciliation programs in Rweru Sector and neighboring sectors, encouraging those who participated in looting the properties of genocide victims to pay amicably, and encouraging genocide survivors to forgive those who are not in an economic position to pay.

Because of its activities, Igiti cy’Umuvumu is now considered to be a role model within the field of unity and reconciliation in Rwanda.
Igiti cy’Umuvumu association is composed of 72 people, including genocide survivors, admitted genocide perpetrators, and others who did not participate in the genocide.

The group was started in 2005 by the organization Prison Fellowship International (PFI). From its inception, members of Igiti cy’Umuvumu have challenged themselves to restore unity and reconciliation between Rwandans.