Impact brief by Dr. Jean Damascene GASANABO


A Stakeholder Workshop Enabling the digital society: An Impact plan for the Gacaca Archive Project.

On 22nd January, 2015 CNLG, AEGIS TRUST and all its Stakeholders held a workshop on the theme “Enabling the digital society: An Impact plan for the Gacaca Archive Project”. Also present at the workshop was Professor Marilyn Deegan from King’s College London, an expert in digital humanities and an experienced manager of large-scale digital projects.

Dr. Jean-Damascène Gasanabo, Director General of the Research and Documentation Center on Genocide within the CNLG in his opening remarks said; ‘We are here this afternoon in the framework of the digitalization process of the Gacaca documents. This follows our meeting of December 11, 2014 where CNLG together with Aegis Trust and with the support of our partners, namely King’s College of London, UK, the University of Southern California Shoah Foundation, NIOD Institute for Genocide and Holocaust Studies in The Netherlands officially launched our collaboration showing our action plan, our strategies, posing our questions and discussing our challenges’.

Being a government institution, CNLG has the obligation to collaborate with other government institutions that have a word to say on Gacaca documents including Justice Sector, security organs and other decision-makers. The presence today of those who are representing different institutions is highly appreciated, said Dr. Gasanabo

CNLG and Aegis Trust, together with a team of international partners such as the University of Southern California Shoah Foundation; King’s College London; and the NIOD Institute for Genocide and Holocaust Studies in The Netherlands, embarked on a major project to organize, catalogue and digitize the Archive. CNLG and its partners have been planning this project for the past 18 months and have carried out a feasibility study and a range of investigations that have secured funding for the first phase of the project. A further two phases are planned for the next five years (2015 – 2020).

Phase one, which began on 1 January 2015, will be an intensive planning and testing period.  The Archive documents will be organized, catalogued, and the scanning will begin.  An advanced, modern technical facility for scanning, preserving and delivering the digital archive will be established in Kigali, and staff will be trained in all aspects of its operation.  The Gacaca Archive Project is vitally important for Rwanda, not just to preserve and make accessible this unique record of a unique process, but also in the establishment of a Centre of excellence in digital delivery. This will be one of the largest non-commercial digital archiving projects ever undertaken, and is capacity-building on a large scale.  If this project succeeds, Rwanda will become world leaders in this area. This will contribute significantly to Rwanda’s ambitions to become a modern knowledge economy; it will deliver a cadre of technically trained personnel, create jobs, and build expertise.

This project will have considerable impact on a whole range of stakeholders within and outside Rwanda.  However, in order to maximize that impact, and to evaluate the significant changes that the project will effect, a formal process of evaluation and impact assessment needs to be put in place by the team as part of the project plan.  It is in order to inform this process that we are holding the Stakeholder Workshop.  We wanted to explore at this event several key aspects of the project’s potential impact: what effect will the digital availability of the Gacaca Archive have on current user groups? What new users will emerge when it is available? What impact will the technical expertise developed by the project have on the Rwandan knowledge economy? And how might we measure impact within the different stakeholder groups?



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