Societal Healing through Community-Based Enterprise: An Action Research Project In Progress



This presentation will discuss an action research project underway in Rwanda as part of an intervention by a partnership of international peace agencies, a European Union delegation, and Rwanda's government and civil society agencies. The intervention is meant to help address the traumatic consequences of the genocide that shattered the country in 1994. The aim is to promote three components of healing: mental health, reconciliation, and economic well-being. The community-based enterprise (CBE) prototype is the basis for designing and implementing a 'collaborative livelihoods' approach to economic well-being, beginning with a pilot project in the district of Bugesera. The concept of CBE as 'a community acting corporately as both entrepreneur and enterprise in pursuit of the common good' (Peredo and Chrisman, 2006) has received considerable scholarly discussion. This intervention in Rwanda presents an excellent opportunity to test and extend the theory of CBE in post-war conditions in three aspects: (1) Can the CBE prototype contribute in a culturally compatible way to livelihood, social cohesion, and mental health in ethnically divided communities with a history of conflict? (2) To what extent, and in what ways, does the activity of community outsiders (e.g., government at different levels, NGOs, and international cooperation) contribute to, or detract from, the successful implementation of and scaling up of CBE in the circumstances of Rwanda? (3) What is the role of gender and youth in visioning, planning and implementing CBEs?

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Meeting ID: 969 8459 3886