In the Great Lakes region of Africa, civil society organizations can play a pivotal role in bridging divides by:

1. **Promoting Dialogue:** Facilitate open and inclusive dialogues that encourage communication among different ethnic and social groups, fostering understanding and empathy.

2. **Conflict Resolution Training:** Provide conflict resolution training to communities, helping them develop skills to peacefully address differences and find common ground.

3. **Cultural Exchange Programs:** Organize cultural exchange initiatives to celebrate diversity, break down stereotypes, and promote appreciation for various ethnic backgrounds.

4. **Community Development Projects:** Implement projects that benefit the entire community, emphasizing shared goals and encouraging collaboration irrespective of ethnic or tribal affiliations.

5. **Advocacy for Inclusive Policies:** Advocate for policies that promote inclusivity and address the root causes of ethnic tensions, working towards creating a more equitable and just society.

6. **Education and Awareness:** Conduct educational campaigns to raise awareness about the negative consequences of ethnic divisions and promote a sense of national identity.

7. **Trauma Healing Programs:** Implement programs that address the historical traumas within communities, fostering healing and reconciliation.

8. **Media Engagement:** Encourage responsible media reporting that avoids exacerbating ethnic tensions, and promote narratives that highlight shared values and aspirations.

9. **Youth Engagement:** Engage with youth through programs that encourage cross-cultural friendships, tolerance, and a sense of shared responsibility for the community’s future.

10. **Collaboration with Government:** Work collaboratively with government bodies to implement policies that support social cohesion and address the root causes of ethnic tensions.

By focusing on these strategies, civil society organizations can contribute significantly to bridging divides and fostering a more unified and cohesive society in the Great Lakes region of Africa.