As part of an ongoing series of programs to combat identity-based violence (IBV) in the Great Lakes Region of Africa, the Auschwitz Institute’s Africa Programs Office (APO) organized its first virtual seminar for government officials, as well as other prominent leaders and stakeholders in Zambia. Funded with UK aid from the British people through the Jo Cox Memorial Grant, the training seminar, entitled “Preventing Identity-Based Violence,” was held from June 1-21, 2020.
The development of the virtual seminar’s curriculum was informed by an assessment conducted by the APO team in coordination with its local partners. This assessment took stock of existing legal and institutional frameworks and programs for the prevention of identity-based violence in Zambia. The resulting online course was divided into 5 sections, covering fundamental concepts in genocide and mass atrocity prevention, as well as upstream, mid-stream, and downstream preventive actions, and a focus on case studies from the region. The latter component was aided by the creation of a case study resource by APO staff that works to “identify the factors that have the potential to drive identity-based conflicts and violence with a view to finding opportunities and developing interventions to find redress in Zambia.”
All 25 virtual program participants, representing numerous government departments, international organizations, as well as prominent members of civil society, engaged in interactive discussions throughout the seminar and successfully completed the full scope of the course requirements. At the conclusion of the three-week program, participants launched the Zambian National Committee for the Prevention of Mass Atrocities and adopted a National Action Plan for the Prevention of Identity Based Violence.
To ensure that the momentum of these significant advancements and achievements is preserved, the Auschwitz Institute’s APO team has developed a complementary policy paper on the local implementation of IBV prevention initiatives. The policy paper will be distributed to policy makers, government officials, and practitioners throughout Zambia and the broader Great Lakes Region. In addition to this policy paper, an IBV Prevention Toolkit has been developed in order to guide community activities led by governmental, cultural, religious, and civil society organizations and further mainstream local IBV prevention initiatives. These resources will provide a framework for ongoing engagement and technical assistance with the members of the Zambian National Committee and the atrocity prevention community as a whole.