IfE’s partner organizations in Burundi, DR Congo and Uganda are building a citizens’ network to monitor threats to peace and human rights in the troubled African Great Lakes Region. Decades of poor governance, economic exploitation, ethnic strife and regional conflict have led to millions of deaths in what some have called World War III. Lack of global attention has allowed the situation to perpetuate, while demand for rare minerals found in the region has led to militarized bids for control of resources, aggravating pressures on the agricultural economy.

The strategy of IfE’s partners is to work with communities and journalists to hold governments and other actors accountable for the severe inequalities and anti-democratic abuses that promote conflict and prevent equitable development. The partner organizations recently elected a Steering Committee to develop a detailed plan of action to confront these problems. New partners are coming on board, and Field Hearings are being held to determine the priorities of the local communities, especially in the conflict zones of Burundi and Eastern DR Congo.