CROSSINGS the journey to peace
Crossings the journey to peace – commissioned by International Alert
Stooped backs, sweating brows and dusty feet are the marque of women traders heaving 100-kilogram loads on their backs as they walk alongside the ‘human mules’ – disabled transporters flanked by helpers that push their cargo, ferrying merchandise of up to 300 kilograms on small metal carts.
Cross-border trade is a rare example of interdependency in the war-torn Great Lakes region. It is a source of income for some 45,000 traders, three-quarters of which are women, who put aside enduring conflict and political instability to sell agricultural merchandise across the Democratic Republic of Congo, Rwanda, Uganda and Burundi borders.
Small trade between the Democratic Republic of Congo and its neighbouring nations fosters peace. Importantly, it provides a potent tool to end poverty through economic prosperity.