Peace work

Rune Edvardsen, the head of The Dina Foundation.

Peace work

Through the work of The Dina Peace Foundation, The Dina Foundation contributes to peace and reconciliation in war-torn areas.

The Dina Foundation initiates and facilitates conflict solving between opposing groups in war-torn areas. The foundation has, among other things, initiated peace conferences in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Burundi, where rebels, church leaders and representatives from the governments have met each other for the first time. During these kinds of Peace Conferences the foundation leads the way into in-depth information and conversations on topics related to ethnicity, religion, and politics.

The Dina Foundation has founded The Dina Peace-Foundation and established this foundation with an office in Kinshasa, the capital of DRC. The Dina Peace Foundation works closely with the governments in Congo. The same in other countries, the foundation works to obtain peace and stability in areas by maintaining an ongoing conversation with the governments of war-torn countries and also involving the Norwegian government.

The DRC has a long history of political problems, poverty, and armed conflicts, both when under colonial rule and as an independent state. The raging conflict is the worst the world has seen since World War 2. From the 1870’s the Europeans started to explore the country and in 1884 the Belgium king Leopold II took the country as his personal possession. King Leopold II robbed the country of its great riches through brutal impoverishment. Later the Belgium state took over the ownership of the country.

In 1960 the country obtained its independency under the leadership of Patrice Lumumba. He won the first democratic election just a few months prior to decolonization. Five years later general Joseph Mobuto seized power and named the country Zaire. Mobuto established an oppressive dictatorship and a regime that became know for corruption and downsizing the already weak public institutions. Mubotu was overthrown in a coup in 1997. Laurent-Désiré Kabila became the new president. A year later the regime was overthrown, resulting in a civil war demanding 3.5 million lives. The civil war lasted until 2003 and is known as Second Congo War or World War I in Africa. Eight countries were involved in the war and 25 armed groups.

Even thought the war has officially ended the violence continues. In 2008 the war and its aftermath had taken 5.4 million lives, mainly caused by sicknesses and starvation. That makes this war the conflict with the highest casualties since World War 2.

Read more about the DRC

Internal conflicts ravaged Burundi for decades. Ethnic differences between the Hutus, the Tutsis and the Twa people are the main reasons for the conflict. In 1993 a civil war broke out and 50.000 Hutus and Tutsis were killed and as many as 700.000 Hutus fled the country. The Dina Foundation facilitates Peace Conferences in different villages with the aim of leaving the past behind and help these groups starting the process of rebuilding the country together. The Hutus, the Tutsis, and the Twa people are given a new name - «twahutsi»-, and most often this new name is warmly welcomed. In fellowship they develop a document of actions they want to take in their village. This document is handed to the major and to the government.

Today Burundi is in the longest period with a democratic elected government in the country’s history, yet the peace is still quite vulnerable. All the conflict Burundi has struggled with has made the country one of the poorest in the world.

Read more about Burundi

Photos of the project:

Click on the images for larger photos and description:

  • Rune Edvardsen, head of The Dina Foundation, under the peace conference in Burundi in 2014. Photography: Nathalie Edvardsen.
  • Men holding hands under the peace conference in Burundi. Photography: Nathalie Edvardsen.
  • Meeting at the peace conference in Burundi in 2014. Photography: Nathalie Edvardsen.
  • Man notes down points as he learns the peace conference. Photography: Nathalie Edvardsen.
  • Women will also participate and express themselves during the peace conferences. Photography: Nathalie Edvardsen.
  • Rune Edvardsen, head of The Dina Foundation encounters child soldiers in the DRC. Photography: David Darg.
  • Participants are divided into groups where they together can have a dialogue about the future of their village and for their country. Photography: Nathalie Edvardsen.
  • Participants are grateful for the teaching they receive about peace efforts. Photography: Nathalie Edvardsen.
  • Rune Edvardsen, head of The Dina Foundation, in dialogue with Laurent Nkunda who is former leader of a rebel group in North Kivu province. Photography: Geir Egeland.