22 January 2015
A wide range of stakeholders met in Kigali to discuss the impact they want the Gacaca Archives to have, in Rwanda and internationally. The meeting was hosted by the National Commission for the Fight against Genocide (CNLG) and was attended by 30 individuals from 19 different government, non-government and higher learning institutions.
The workshop was titled, ‘Enabling the digital society: An impact plan for the Gacaca Archive Project’ and was facilitated by Professor Marilyn Deegan from King’s College London. The objective was to gather inputs from those working on the project as well as from key stakeholders such as genocide survivor organisations.
Maximising the considerable impact the archive will have, and being able to evaluate it, requires a formal process of evaluation and impact assessment. The workshop was a key step in developing this assessment mechanism. To define the desired impact of the archive project, participants were divided into groups and asked to discuss the following questions and give their feedback:
- What are the most common problems you face when dealing with Gacaca related information?
- What difference do you want the Gacaca archive project to make?
From these questions, stakeholders presented a wide range of views on accessibility, use of the archives, incorporating them into curriculums, security and privacy. The discussions helped to define what effect the digital availability of the Gacaca Archive will have, what new users will emerge when it is available, what impact the technical expertise developed by the project will have on the Rwandan knowledge economy and how overall impact might be measured.
Speaking on the outcomes of the workshop, Professor Deegan, an expert in digital humanities and an experienced manager of large-scale digital projects, said:
“The stakeholder workshop was a highly focused and successful event. The participants came from a broad range of organisations concerned with the Gacaca Archive, and shared their experience and expertise generously. Their input was greatly valued, and will help the project team shape the next phases of the project.”
Since the Gacaca Courts completed their work in June 2012, significant efforts have been undertaken to preserve and organise the courts’ estimated 60 million pages of documents and 8,000 audio-visual files. In December 2014, a team, including CNLG, Aegis Trust, and international organisations such as King’s College London, the NIOD Institute for War, Holocaust and Genocide Studies and the USC Shoah Foundation, announced the plan for a sustainable solution to ensure the archives are preserved for generations to come.