COW FOR PEACE 2018-07-19T17:22:07+00:00


A Creative Solution for a Unique Context

The process of reconciliation requires issues to be addressed holistically—poverty, malnutrition and family relationships cannot be separated. The Cow for Peace project uniquely touches on all these points as it unites different programs of CARSA. Designed as a 3-step-approach, this program begins in trauma healing and forgiveness workshops and ends by providing an impoverished offender and survivor of the genocide with the shared responsibility of a cow.



Finding Forgiveness

CARSA works with local government and church leaders to identify people who would most benefit from a 3 day workshop that focuses on trauma healing and forgiveness. For many participants, this is the first time they have experienced true forgiveness, either for their offender or for themselves.



Rebuilding Relationships

​Interdependence is essential in Rwanda’s rural areas. The genocide destroyed communities, broke trust and shattered relationships, leaving vulnerable people without a safety net. After the workshop, survivors and their offenders are put into groups to meet regularly and support each other through caring for each other’s needs. This rebuilds the foundation of community for participants and reestablishes trust.



Mutually Beneficial Endeavor

Finally, the cow is given to the survivor and the offender. It stays with the survivor’s family, but both share the responsibility of caring for it, bringing the offender’s family to visit regularly. The first calf that is born is given to the offender’s family in a communal ceremony as a sign of restored relationships.

Because poverty is one of the biggest obstacles to reconciliation, these issues must be addressed together. Cows provide milk, manure for fertilizer and biomass, and (after reproduction) meat; thereby strengthening the beneficiaries’ incomes and giving reason for hope for the future. Cattle-breeding is a status symbol in the Rwandan society and restores the self-esteem of the beneficiaries. The goal of Cow for Peace is to enable all participants to experience a trustful cooperation between former opponents and improve their personal circumstances as well as those of society as a whole. This experience causes a sustainable difference in the attitude, mindset and behavior patterns of the participants and thereby fosters unity and rehabilitation in Rwandan society.