One of Shalom (SCCRR) key objectives is to develop inter-ethnic and inter-religious schools and institutions, design and promote peace education syllabus and to provide quality educational material especially in areas formerly entrenched in violent conflict. In many of these conflict zones, schools would have been destroyed, significantly damaged or non-existent but fortunately through the interventions of SCCRR numerous areas are now enjoying peaceful co-existence. Throughout, 2018, SCCRR will continue to promote peace, truth, justice and mercy through building up local conflict management systems by empowering local communities to be architects of their own future; for themselves and their children who deserve a right to education and then actualize their potential.
In 2018, the educational programme focus is towards reconstruction of dilapidated and insufficient school buildings, erecting of school perimeter security fences, equipping schools with textbooks, furniture (student lockers, chairs, desks, teachers chairs and tables), water tanks, double decker beds, solar lighting systems, laboratory equipment etc. This process will keep strengthening the Peace-Development nexus. SCCRR is continually receiving heart-rending applications from the communities where Peace Intervention Workshops are being carried out. We wish to recognize the consistent efforts of our Programme manager, Godfrey Okoth and his team to get in the most critical applications on time.
During the first quarter of 2018, Shalom interventions were in highly volatile and almost inaccessible areas of Kenya – West Pokot, Samburu, Marsabit, and Turkana – and also in South Sudan. SCCRR involvements will directly impact a total population of 8,205 students in 26 schools, during the first half of 2018. Out of these schools, 10 school projects have been implemented and 16 are underway. Student enrolment is also anticipated to increase when infrastructure is rehabilitated; For instance, we anticipate that upon completion of the ongoing reconstruction of the school roof and other repairs at Kokuro Primary School, there will be a substantial increase in the ongoing enrollment of new students – girls and boys – from two warring communities, namely the Dassanech (Merile) and Turkana from Ethiopia and Kenya respectively.
SCCRR is continuing to conduct peace-building workshops in the slum areas, particularly in Mathare and Kariobangi. The participants are key influential stakeholders, opinion shapers and the youth. This is done to address the perennial inter-ethnic conflicts that erupt during and after the national electioneering cycle. The Peace Education department will continue to engage Peace club teachers and students from these slums towards instilling a culture of peace among peace club members, students and the community at large. St. Martin de Porres Primary school in Kariobangi and St. John Paul II Secondary school in Kibera Slums have benefited from student furniture, text books and learning material respectively donated by SCCRR. The schools are supported with the aim of increasing school enrolment and retention of students which curbs the tendency for involvement in early marriages and negative peer influence that leads to drug addiction, HIV/AIDS infection and petty crime which many times leads to confrontation with government authority and in some cases result in death.
One exciting project we are undertaking is our contribution in support of St Joseph Bakhita Girls Secondary School in war torn South Sudan. Since the outbreak of civil war in South Sudan in 2013, many schools were closed down. This left St. Bakhita Girls Secondary School being the only girls’ secondary school in three regions namely: Central Equatorial, Eastern Equatorial and Upper Nile which comprise of 10 states, with a population of 3.3 million people. SCCRR is supplying student desks and tables to help with the ever increasing number of girls’ enrollment due to the closure of other schools in the region.
We would like to particularly recognize the oversight of the SCCRR Board in ensuring that the guidelines for project and programme implementation are always adhered to in the organization. The Country Director’s role, Fr. Oliver Noonan, cannot be understated in ensuring oversight of implementation of all projects in line with donor and Board guidelines. We further wish to express gratitude to the Chairman of the Board, Fr Patrick Devine for his continued oversight of the applied research exercised in conflict environments which contributes immensely to the validity of the educational projects undertaken as a major contributor to sustainable peace.
We look forward to reaching out to more schools and institutions for the remainder of 2018 in partnership with SCCRR’s stakeholders. SHALOM, SALAAM, SALAMU! Your kindness has and is transforming the lives of thousands of children and parents to be better and creative people.
Author: Ms. Rosaline Serem, MBA, B.A.; Board Member (Kenya)