The last genocide of the 20th century took place in Rwanda. The first genocide of the 21st century took place in Darfur, Sudan. In a continent that is home to thousands of tribes, and whose past was shaped by colonial policies of dismantling unity, favoring certain tribes over others and fostering tribal hostilities — policies which are still propagated by greedy, self-serving leaders today; tribalism and ethnic intolerance have become deeply entrenched in many African communities. Lack of access to resources, communities feeling victimized, marginalized, oppressed or under-represented by leaders from a particular tribe, and manipulation by greedy leaders have all contributed to these resentments escalating into the outbreaks of violence, full scale wars and genocide. These conflicts have spiraled into a vicious cycle of hatred and revenge, causing untold suffering for millions through brutal deaths, rape, torture, abduction, forced impregnation, the rampant spread of HIV/AIDS, displacement, severe poverty and starvation. Even after armed conflict has subsided or ceased, these communities continue to live in a heightened state of fear and resentment which leaves them vulnerable to outbreaks of violence in the future.
ALARM’s peacebuilding and reconciliation program, focused on east and central Africa, is rooted in our belief that God’s initiative of reconciliation through Christ is designed to transform believers into agents and ministers of reconciliation. We are called not only to reconcile broken relationships between people and the Creator but also broken relationships between communities, neighbors, families, tribes, and people of different ethnic and racial backgrounds. In addition, ALARM believes that any efforts in peacebuilding must focus on biblical forgiveness as a foundation for reconciliation of relationships, and that ethnic tension and resentment must be addressed at a grassroots level if there is to be sustained peace in the region. ALARM is therefore committed to equipping church and community leaders to help communities embrace biblical forgiveness, heal from the wounds of the past, overcome their bitterness and resentment towards other tribes; and reconcile broken relationships. Through forums, conferences, workshops and seminars ALARM equips church leaders, government and civil leaders, women and youth with skills and training in their roles in peacebuilding, understanding conflict, preventing conflict escalation, conflict resolution, mediation, biblical forgiveness, reconciliation, human rights, trauma healing and social justice. ALARM has developed training manuals in peacebuilding, conflict resolution, mediation and biblical ethnicity.