Ethiopian Evangelical Church Mekane Yesus


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Addis Ababa

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22 May 2012 11:29

Trauma Healing Training by EECMY Peace Office

Trauma Healing Training was held in Nekemte from April 23-27, 2012 prepared by the Ethiopian Evangelical Church Mekane Yesus Pease Office. The participants of the training were ministers from the Central Synod, pastors and evangelists which in total made 26 participants. Though the Central Synod is the working area, the participants came from both Oromo and Gumuz communities.

Gumuz are one of the Nilo-Saharan Language speakers on the Western border land of Ethiopia and it was during emperor Iyassu the Great that Gumuz was incorporated into the Ethiopian state. Benishangul Gumuz National State was established in 1994 on the basis of Transitional Charter of the Transitional Government of Ethiopia (TGE). The region is bordered by Amhara Regional States in the North and East, Oromia Regional State in the East and South, by Gambella Regional States in the South and the Sudan in the West.

Oromo-Gumuz relation allegedly started in conflict in which the Gumuz were forced to retreat from the highland and settle in the dry, hot lowland basins of rivers. For a long time the Oromo occupied the fertile highland areas and only visited the lowland for hunting and honey collection. The two communities had a formal relationship, “Michu”, for many years in which the Gumuz people offer free labor and agricultural products and in return the Oromo gave protection to the Gumuz people. The Oromo allegedly were superior and exploited the relationship to utilize the resources in Gumuz land which was led to a structural violence upon the Gumuz people. Though the existing of structural violence with respect to ethnic groups in Benishangul goes without saying, the first incidents of violent conflicts between Oromo and Gumuz began in 1993. The second incident took place in 1994 and after that there were repeated eruptions of violent conflicts between the two communities. The root causes of the conflict included:

•Failure to demarcate boundary between Oromia and Benishangul Gumuz Regional States.

•Historical memories resulting in suspicion and fear on the fact of Gumuz that the Oromo are against their regional autonomy

•Migration of both Oromo and Amhara ethnic groups to the Benishangul Gumuz Region.

•Traditional harmful practices that provoke hatred and incite violence

•Inexperience in governance and lack of knowledge about historical relationship of the Gumuz and Oromo in the past.

Mr. Emmanuel Z.Copwe

The training of trauma healing was given by two professionals in the area that came from Tanzania, Mr. Emmanuel Z. Copwe who is founder and CEO of World Initiative for Peace Education and Reconciliation and Rev. David E. Nkone, Director of Reconciliation and Peace Building Ministries; African Enterprise. The training included topics like:

•Basic Human Need

•Foundation: The Father Heart of God

•Suffering and God’s love

•Understanding Trauma

•Dealing with Trauma Wound and Pain

•Forgiveness, Justice and Reconciliation

Trauma Healing is one of the various activities the Oromo-Gumuz project of the EECMY peace office comprises. At the community level there are peace building activities that the peace office has been working on but individually there are people who are still living with trauma because of loss of family members or loved ones. The overall goal of trauma healing training was to enable victims of trauma to recover and integrate in their society. The training has an objective of building the capacity of ministers in trauma healing process so that they can go back to the grassroots level to identify and help the traumatized people as a result of the 2008 conflict between the two communities.

group discussion

The training was given for five days which the first three days included presentations of the above mentioned main topics. The activities performed during the training sessions included lectures, group discussions and cross ministry. Finally, the last two days were training of trainers (ToT) where the trainees were equipped to organize similar trainings at their respective areas.

At the end of the training the participants testified that they themselves were healed and promised to carry the task of healing and advising traumatized people in their communities. One thing which is worth mentioning is that the trainees from the communities had the chance to ask for forgiveness from each other which showed that the peace making was already starting at the training. “ it was a moving moment” said Mr. Mamo Wegega, EECMY peace office coordinator describing the event. “My belief is that the confession the participants made about their involvement during the conflict may helped them to carry out the reconciliation and healing process which the end result may be peaceful coexistence and cooperation for mutual development” he added.

Trainees with their Certificate

Finally the training was concluded with certificate giving ceremony to all participants.

Written by: Tsion Alemayehu

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