Category Archives: Peace Education

Introducing Joseph Mugenzi – Seeking for Truth

egide..Joseph Mugenzi is a 24 years old person who was born, raised and living in Nganda cell, Musaza sector, Kirehe district in the western province of Rwanda. Joseph is the third born in a family of six kids and he lives with his parents. He went to school at Groupe Scolaire Gacuba for his primary studies and later attended Rusumo High school to finish his secondary studies: Due to lack of funds or other means Joseph never had a chance to continue his university studies.

In September 2015, Joseph was invited to attend the youth champions trainings, these trainings are meant to empower young people from different communities around the country with leadership, public speaking, advocacy and project management skills.

“I remember that it was around 10:00 am when I received a phone call from our district youth officer asking me if I am interested in attending a youth training at the Kigali genocide memorial. He didn’t specify what the trainings were all about but I immediately accepted because since my young age I always dreamed to visit the memorial.” Joseph explained. Later on he was contacted by one of The Aegis Trusts’ staff members and briefed on the trainings: “ I learnt a lot in the youth champions training than I expected, I didn’t know anything about peace building but I got to learn what peace is and my role in peace building” Joseph said.

The youth champions program is designed in a way that after the young people complete their training, they go back to their communities and start peace building project through which they can practice what they learnt and gain more knowledge.

After the trainings Joseph went back home and wrote a project proposal that he submitted to The Aegis Trust. Even before receiving funds for his project he went ahead and started reaching out to his community.

“Just one week after the trainings I was invited to a meeting of heads of villages and I requested for some minutes to tell them what I’d learnt from the trainings, I talked for 30 minutes and they liked it so much that they invited me in other meetings.” Joseph declared. He also started organizing public talks and discussion in schools and community halls with the youth and elders in the community.

“I loved sharing my experience and engaging others in discussions but I came to realize that I need more knowledge about the history of my country because there were so many questions that kids could ask me that I could not respond to. That’s how I came with an idea of coming back to the Kigali Genocide Memorial to learn more about the history of genocide” Joseph said. With the help of his fellow youth champions in his community, He started planning the community group visit to the memorial.


the trip was organised for the 16 March 2016 where over 200 people had signed up.

“To me the memorial is a learning center which not only teaches about the history but also guides us on how to prepare for our future. I am very thankful to The Aegis Trust for empowering me and helping me to discover the potential that I have in me. I urge the young people in this country to be more dynamic and curious about what is going around them. For example I didn’t know anything about peace building or even the history of genocide before I was trained but now I know a lot of things and I even teach others…” Joseph stated.

My Rwanda


My Address during the Friends of Rwanda (FORA)  20th fundraising dinner, at Laguna Town Hall in Elk Grove, California, USA. 

My Rwanda

I am happy to be here today to talk about young people and post-Genocide reconciliation in my country, Rwanda.

Immediately after the Genocide, people lived with mistrust and communities were fractured. There was limited interaction between survivors’ families and perpetrators’ families. Some even suggested that Rwanda should be divided into two countries. But instead, we chose to stay together. We put aside our differences and made unity our first priority.

Let me share a short story to give you an insight into the Rwanda of today. This story is one among many others that I know and it inspires me every day.

Martin and Jacques are two young boys coming from different family backgrounds. Despite this, they became friends in the first year of high school. One day, Martin asked Jacques to stay at his home: “Your parents live so far away from the school. Come and live with us,” Martin said to Jacques.

When Jacques reached Martin’s home, his parents objected. “Why are you bringing a Tutsi to our house?” Martin’s dad asked.

When Jacques’ family heard the news, they were very angry too. The parents went to see their son and said, “You should not be staying with Hutus”.

Despite pressure from their families, Martin and Jacques said to their parents, “We are brothers. We are friends. Nothing will change that”.

Both families quickly realized how inflexible Martin and Jacques were. They started to wonder” “Why should we try to separate the boys? Why are we dividing our children”? They realized they were wrong; the influence of their children drove them to began working to unite people around them. Today, both families are closer than ever.

This is only one story among thousands where young Rwandans, my peers, have chosen peace, forgiveness, unity and reconciliation. It’s a story that shows strong conviction and determination to change bad behaviors and habits. We call ourselves “Agaciro Generation”. Agaciro means “dignity” and is one of our national values. Today, we no longer define ourselves by outdated and inaccurate concepts of ethnicity. Today, we are Rwandans.

In so many ways, as Rwandans, we are shaped by our past but we can’t allow ourselves to be defined by it. Remembering what happened in Rwanda in 1994 is important for my generation. Young people must learn from the past in order to build a brighter future.

Sixty per cent of Rwandans are made of young people. We are an important force with a huge role to play in post reconstruction activities. But we need to be equipped with the skills and knowledge to be active citizens and peace builders.

There are a number of incredible organisations in Rwanda working with young people to help them become champions for humanity in their communities.

The Kigali Genocide Memorial is part of them. It is not only the final resting place for more than 250,000 victims of the genocide; it is also a home for survivors, a place where they can come to pay respect to the victims, remember and try to heal. It is also a place for education for all.

It is a place that drives community conversations about the past, peace and reconciliation. With this in mind, the memorial, which is run by Aegis Trust, hosts a peacebuilding programme that works with community leaders, teachers and students to equip and empower young people with the values and skills to be change makers and peacemakers in their own communities.


Across the country, many other peace building initiatives are being led by my peers. Never Again Rwanda, the association of student survivors of the genocide GAERG and AERG, iDebate and Peace and Love Proclaimers are bringing communities together, driving social transformation by encouraging critical thinking and teaching about genocide and mass atrocity prevention.

I believe the values of empathy, compassion and forgiveness can be taught – and they are the foundation of a new, unconventional generation that is rebuilding Rwanda as I speak. Young people, like you and me, are at the forefront of this effort by helping to share these values with communities across the country.

Rebuilding Rwanda is not easy and it will not be perfect, but Martin and Jacques have shown us that it is possible.

Aba Youth

“Aba youth”- meaning “The youth”. That’s something I’m getting used to hearing every day at work and I wear the label proudly.

My name is Gael Rutembesa and I coordinate Film and Photography projects in the Aegis Trust youth department, which promotes peace and reconciliation through story telling. It has opened my eyes to a whole new world – A world where Rwandan youth are empowered to make a difference.Film & Photography

We organised workshops conducted by professionals to equip the youth with skills in filming and photography. I was impressed by the curiosity and passion the participants had. They asked endless questions, and with the trainers’ knowledge and experience in the field, a very fulfilling dialogue was formed. Later on, the participants were challenge to tell their stories under the theme, “Peace and Culture as a way to sustainable development.”

It is amazing to see the extent to which the creativity young people possess can stretch. All they need to do is to tap into the talents and abilities they have and to be pointed in the right direction.

“Aba youth” are the real deal – They are the future.

Providing access to genocide documentation: learning through teaching

The team tile resizedWhen I first joined Aegis Trust as the archive projects coordinator, I was both excited and nervous about working for an organisation that dealt with documenting such a sensitive issue as the 1994 genocide against the Tutsi. I experienced the genocide from a distance, having lost most of my mother’s family members to it and watching my mother cry herself to sleep every night, knowing she could do nothing to save them except pray for a miracle.

I feel that being indirectly affected by the genocide, but also having some distance from it, allowed me to have multiple perspectives of the events of 1994. Having lived abroad from the longest and wildest beaches of the southern hemisphere in Port-Shepstone South Africa, to the neutral beauty of Switzerland, I have heard stories and opinion on the history of Rwanda from the deepest south to the glamorous north. And now, once again, I find myself back at the centre of the Earth, back home in Rwanda: right at the source of the genocide where the truth can be dug up.

I am so proud to be a part of Aegis Trust and contribute to what it does. By working with the Genocide Archive of Rwanda, I am able to not only learn about the genocide, but also be part of something bigger: documenting the genocide and providing access to this information online to millions of users globally.

My main task in the archive is to oversee the development of content for our website in partnership with our devoted communications team. We update the site as frequently as possible, select photographs and other archive items and keep our followers up-to-date with our activities, projects and upcoming events through social media. I also act as the middle-woman between upper management and our local and international partners. Our good relationships with these partners mean we have a lots of new projects lined up. We are never bored here at the archive. Every day brings new challenges.

What has made my job even more enjoyable, despite the fact that we work with emotionally challenging collections, is that we have a dynamic working environment where humour is still very much alive and friendship is strong.

But the reason for all of us being here remains the same: to document the genocide against the Tutsi and to make it accessible to the world, now, and for future generations. Time does not stand still. With every year that passes since 1994, our work of preservation and education becomes even more important.

Mimi Frank coordinates archive department projects and events. She is the intermediary between the Genocide Archive of Rwanda, international partners and supporting organisations.