Africa’s Great Lakes region encompasses Rwanda, Burundi, the eastern provinces of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and parts of western Uganda. In 2010 the Institute held its first Great Lakes Course in Entebbe, Uganda. In 2011 and 2012, the course was held in the Burundian capital Bujumbura; in 2013 it was held in Jinja, Uganda. In 2014, the course returned to Bujumbura.
In 2012 the RVI launched the Usalama Project (peace or security in Swahili), a multi-year programme of research, publication and public discussion aimed at building a deeper understanding of armed groups in the eastern DRC, with a view to providing a knowledge base for the reform of the Congolese armed forces. The project has published eleven reports on various armed groups, including the Congolese army itself, and held a series of meetings in Bukavu and Kinshasa to discuss the findings of the project with Congolese civil society, military officials and donors. RVI’s Great Lakes programme is currently developing a second phase of the Usalama Project, focused on access to public information on conflict in the eastern DRC, as well as other, smaller, projects, which will build on the knowledge and network it produced.