Cohesion and Peace Building
By Nyasani Mbaka
Down in Kenyan history the 2007/8 post-election violence witnessed the deaths of more than 1,000 people while over 500,000 persons were displaced. While it is also estimated that 300,000 were able to return to their residences or to integrate, there continues to remain IDPs who do not have a durable solution.
Tushirikishe Jamii recognizes the need for a coherent, integrated and coordinated approach; our peace-building initiatives recognize the need for sustainable peace. To this end, our activities incorporate capacity enhancement on conflict transformation, peace-building and reconciliation with District peace committees, trainings on sexual and gender based violence, open barazas with different demographic groups (elders, women and youth), cohesion activities and income-generating activities. Community leaders from both the IDP and host communities and local administration play a key role as facilitators in these activities.
Income Generating Activities (IGA)
Lack of better livelihood opportunities for the youth in Nakuru Town, Naivasha and Rongai Constituencies played a large part in their participation in the post-election violence. It was therefore important for the project to address the socioeconomic concerns of post-conflict populations to ensure that they have a vested interest to sustain peace and stability.
Garbage collection is becoming a major business venture for the youth
One motivation for this is to empower them economically and Tushirikishe Jamii implementers such as Muungano wa Wanavijiji has effected this through activities such as organizing activities and trainings on Business Planning and proposal writing that encourages the youth to take advantage of existing structures such as their local community development funds to improve their capacity for finding livelihoods.
The existing District Peace barazas are intended to help communities to understand the reasons for conflict and to provide a platform in which they can participate in charting a way forward to prevent future conflict and violence. The meetings allow for the building of relationships and trust among the various communities and leaders.
Activities that integrate the youth are essential in promoting peace. Sports activities make possible this cross-cultural exchange as youth teams are facilitated to travel to different regions to interact and participate in sports tournaments.
Community cohesion is indeed a bedrock of the Kenyan People
Playing teams have representatives from each community. During these tournaments, talks on peaceful co-existence are conducted by the village elders, local administration and community representatives.
Such interaction intends to demystify ethnicity and promote co-operation between the communities.
Knitting groups for the Youth
The effectiveness of youth work and youth club activities is remarkable not only by the numbers of direct and indirect beneficiaries but by the diameter of social needs addressed: from the need for reconciliation to the needs of youth in general or the needs of various vulnerable youth groups, in particular.
The youth from different communities form knitting groups where they discuss peace related issues – the problems they face, why there is conflict, their role in the conflict and the way forward. These groups also help to restore relationships that were broken.
Youth groups directly involved in theater and their performance in each village, TJ project has implemented a tool to motivate youth groups in the village level awareness and community education on devolve funds.
We are motivated with the willingness of the stakeholders to listen and to support the community to achieve their needs.
Through magnetic theater a community members were reached directly and indirectly a total number of 1,943 for those who gave us their cell phone numbers 66% were youth young married women 24% and 10% were old men and women.
Community members are closely following the lobbying and advocacy processes as per the reports always presented in the committee meetings by various representatives from each village.
The Project created the following opportunities for the youth;
Opportunity to network with youth in higher institutions of learning and such other similar interest youth groups at both national and international levels for the promotion of democracy, good governance and development.
Capacity building and leadership training opportunities in the field of human rights, democratic governance and development processes.
Opportunity to influence policy and decision making processes in the country