In 2004, Karuna Center helped Louis and others form a groupe de contacte to bridge the gap between the rebel forces and local communities—who had borne the brunt of violence from all sides. We trained Louis and his comrades in peacebuilding skills to pass them on.
“You gave us arms,” Louis says, with a shy smile. “Not the arms of war, but arms of peace.” Today, while formal negotiations are at last underway to end what has become Africa’s oldest war, Louis is teaching nonviolent communication and other peacebuilding basics to rebel soldiers in the bush. He is not only urging all factions to join the negotiations, he is also preparing the rebels for the difficult task of returning to civilian life and reconciling with the communities they harmed.