Eastern Africa

Shalom Center For Conflict Resolution and Reconciliation (SCCRR): Voices from The Ground

By July 7, 2023 July 10th, 2023 No Comments

Briefing Paper No. 11; By Rev. Dr. Emmanuel T. Tembo


Shalom Center for Conflict Resolution and Reconciliation (SCCRR), founded in 2009 by Rev. Dr. Patrick Devine, in the aftermath of the 2007-08 Kenyan post-electoral violence and his experience of widespread interethnic conflict in Africa. Shalom-SCCRR remains one of the rare non-state organisations that has a highly qualified team (minimum of MA in Peace Studies), investing consistently in reconciliation oriented programmes at the grassroots.  Its methodology is now acknowledged and acclaimed worldwide. More precisely, Shalom aims at assisting with conflict resolution and reconciliation processes in eastern Africa. Practically, Shalom provides training on conflict transformation skills and peacebuilding techniques with the aim of transforming inter-ethnic, religious ideological extremism, structural, domestic and sexual violence, just to mention a few areas. This paper entitled “Shalom Center for Conflict Resolution and Reconciliation (SCCRR): Voices from the ground” is based on ad hoc interactions between the author and some of the beneficiaries of Shalom programmes from conflict environments in Kenya. The author being an intern-consultant at Shalom intended to hear from some Community Resource Persons (CRPs) and Community Facilitators (CFs) about Shalom programmes and share their assessments of impacts. The interviews were held in four areas, namely, Loreng’kipi (Turkana), Nauyapong’ (Pokot West), Morijo and Suguta Marmar (Samburu) in the north of the country. Note that the operational spectrum of Shalom is larger than the above-mentioned entities. In fact, besides West Pokot, Samburu and Turkana, Shalom is actively present in Marsabit, Isiolo, Garissa, Nandi, Kisumu, Nakuru, Mombasa and Nairobi counties where conflict has become the norm resulting in loss of lives and livestock (Kibe, 2020). In sum, Shalom works in over 30 eastern Africa conflict environments, many of whom are found in the above-mentioned Kenyan counties (see the subsequent map).

        Source: 2009-2022 Shalom-SCCRR Results and Achievements


In order to reflect the views of the interviewees, I used verbatim quotes to allow them ‘speak on their own behalf’. The magna question to which Shalom beneficiaries were asked to provide answer was: “what is the contribution of SCCRR towards peace in your area?” The other point the author was curious about was to know the beneficiaries’ opinions on what more Shalom should do in its field of operation, still for the sake of peace. It transpired from the respondents’ answers that Shalom has excelled in training people in conflict analysis and resolution, spearheading collaboration between stakeholders, and supporting educational projects.


According to Sandole, Byrne, Sandole-Staroste and Senehi (2009), conflict analysis is synonymous to conflict assessment: it is a stage of conflict resolution in which parties seek to gain a deeper understanding of the dynamics in their relationships. These dynamics entail such elements as the types and characteristics of the conflict, causes, actors in the conflict, management mechanisms, duration of conflict, responses to the conflict, types of outcomes, institutions involved in conflict management and post conflict structures (Modisett & Levinger, 2014; Mwagiru, 2001; 2006). In the line of the above especially in regard to the causes of conflict between the Pokot and the Turkana, one Shalom community facilitator had the following to say:

“Shalom has done a big job. First of all, we who were trained here, they brought constitutional insights, they trained us well, they asked us “what do you fight for?” We thought maybe it is grass, maybe it is water, maybe it is resources like gold, land, maybe it is human rights. We realized that it is not because you fought someone that you will succeed” (Pastor Moses, Nauyapong’ [West Pokot], Interviewed on September 21, 2022).

To the question “what do you fight for?” the trainees, with Shalom and Kenyan constitutional insights, identified the underlying causes of their conflicts, mainly, land (grass or grazing pastures) and water. In his book on the persistent conflict between the Pokot and the Turkana, Devine (2023) comes to the same conclusion: that besides the political economy and the infrastructure of insecurity brought about by politicians and the government of Kenya, ethnic communities in northern Kenya, for years, have been fighting for core resources of land and water.

Logically, after the identification of conflict parties and causes, the training in conflict analysis focuses on conflict management. Here too, the beneficiaries acknowledge the work of Shalom that consists in equipping them with peacebuilding skills as observed by Loreng’kipi Lead Community Facilitator:

“Shalom has done a lot for this our community of Loreng’kipi and Pokot, it has trained us about the knowledge of peacebuilding skills needed to resolve conflicts in our entity and people continue to acquire knowledge on how to resolve problems even without the intervention of outsiders. For example: one time the Pokot claimed that one of their teachers was killed by the Turkana, so Shalom Group of Loreng’kipi took the pace to look for those Pokot, once they found them, they called for a meeting, which took place at Loiya, border of Pokot and Turkana. So, they argued, they discussed until they came up with the resolution, they said: let us compensate that person who was killed, so they all agreed, the Turkana contributed animals to compensate the death of that person, in total 100 heads of cattle instead of revenge” (Jeremiah Losike, Loreng’kipi [Turkana], Interviewed on September 20, 2022).

Indeed, Shalom’s trainings have enhanced their knowledge in conflict resolution to the extent that they are currently capable of solving their problems with or without any intervention of a third party. The setup provided by the above respondent suggests that they habitually adopt a problem-solving approach in most of their gatherings. Being a problem-solving, the Loiya meeting was a win-win situation which the parties reached without resorting into violent retaliation. At least the Pokot understood that it was wise not to demonize the whole community of the Turkana for the crime committed by one of their members. Indeed, the Loiya meeting is a perfect illustration of bottom-up efforts that can help manage conflict at the micro level (Noonan & Kevilihan, 2018).

Another area where Shalom is much appreciated is the establishment of local peace committees who, in the wording of a beneficiary from Loreng’kipi (Turkana) have become ambassadors of peace in their respective entities, courtesy of the skilled staff from Shalom:

Shalom is doing a good job, in fact, it is the best, best and the best because there was rampant conflict here, daily it was danger, danger, indeed danger. Shalom has done a wonderful work here at Loreng’kipi between us Turkana and Pokot. We started dialogue in 2017, we started with nearly 50 people, we are still 50 members who were selected among the people who were given assignments: some are ambassadors of peace while others have become trainers (Samy Ekai, Local chief, Loreng’kipi [Turkana], interviewed on September 23, 2022).

The members of the above-mentioned peace committees are elected by their peers, thereafter they undergo a full training so as to become themselves trainers. Asked about this method, Mrs.  Judy Akedi and Mr. Austin Macharia, both Shalom team leaders answered that one of Shalom strategies is to make beneficiaries self-reliant and inventive in matters of peace for a better programme ownership.


Building peace is a task that cannot be carried out single-handedly, it needs collaboration between, participation and coordination of both endogenous and exogenous actors (Jeong, 2010; Lederach, 1997). Participants in this research revealed that Shalom has been collaborative by liaising directly with the local leadership made of local chiefs and their councils of elders and by acknowledging/appreciating the efforts of other actors, especially the government of Kenya the churches and field NGOs.

Collaboration with local chiefs

On the issue of collaboration/cooperation between Shalom and local leaders, one local chief provided the following testimony:

Shalom has eased chiefs’ work. Before the work was an overwhelming one but because of this initiative of Shalom, now we can benefit, we can lessen conflicts, we can decrease losses of lives, we can reduce issues of animals, trade has been resumed, before there was no trade, the place that was closed is now settled and settlement is still there. So, you see Shalom has helped us a lot. You have seen today elders are many, these are those who were designated by Shalom to tackle peace issues, hence to establish peace committees. Even on that side of the Pokot, there are those who deal with peace, they and we have now reached a ground of understanding (Sammy Ekai, Loreng’kipi [Turkana], interviewed on September 20, 2022).

According to above quote, the initiative of Shalom has yielded tangible fruits as far as conflict between the Pokot and Turkana is concerned: among others the above local chief mentioned the decrease of deadly livestock rustling and the resumption of trade across the two communities. Certainly, this happens because Shalom is endeavouring to build trust between the two communities and by so doing it has become an essential partner of local leaders. Shalom values the institution of local leadership which, in Africa generally, plays a significant role in the administration, judiciary and development (Cigwata, 2016; Ndi, 2009; Rugege, 2009; Tembo 2021). The Pokot, Samburu and Turkana chiefs and elders are no exception to the rule.

Collaboration with the youth and women

With regard to the involvement of the youth and women in the quest for peace, the following testimonies are suggestive:

Ethnic leaders, kraal leaders, chiefs I mean all stakeholders including the youth, all do cooperate. In fact, there was one case of theft of cows belonging to the Pokot; the case was resolved in this manner: on the frontline there was the chairman and the other person took the courage to follow the tracks of the animals until they found them, we brought them back here after spending two days on the way. That is because of cooperation and this teaching we received from Shalom; it (Shalom) has helped a lot (Participant at Lokiriama [Turkana], interviewed September 23, 2022).

Shalom also came recently in 2019: with its advent, people once again realized the importance of peace. Shalom is training people, sensitizing the youth especially those prone to cattle rustling, Shalom has helped us a lot. (Pastor Moses, Nauyapong’ [West Poko, interviewed on September 21, 2022).

The above two quotations constitute the logical continuation of the previous section that evoked the cooperation of local chiefs and elders especially in the establishment of peace committees. In this sequence, the respondents add kraal leaders and the youth to the group of peace stakeholders.

Concerning the collaboration of the youth in peacebuilding, the interveners acknowledge the fact that Shalom has been sensitizing them so that they may abandon the traditional practice of livestock rustling. The establishment of peace clubs is another testimony about collaboration between Shalom and the youth. Hence Shalom helped in the creation of peace clubs in the instance of POTUSA, a joint youth group made of Pokot, Turkana and Samburu. The idea behind this initiative was, and it is still, to create fora for regular discussions, interactions between the youth of the three antagonistic communities. 

Amazingly women have been incorporated in peacebuilding programmes by Shalom contrary to the traditional setup where they used to be excluded from decision-making. Around Morijo and Lorian in Samburu sub-county, women’ peace groups are flourishing; they include: Namayiana, Kalikoo, Sapai and Leleshwa. Other insights are found in the vibrant observation of the chairlady of Morijo Peace Committee:

I consider myself a mother of three: I have given birth to Samburu children, Turkana children and Pokot children. In case a child from Pokot community or from Samburu or Turkana is caught in robbery and is killed, the mother of Samburu will cry, the mother of Turkana will cry and the mother of Pokot will cry exactly like me. Therefore, I thank Shalom a lot for working with the youth, women and our local leaders to make sure peace prevail in this area (Chairlady, Morijo [Samburu], Interviewed on October 13, 2022).

In essence, the chairlady of Morijo Peace Committee appreciates the collaboration of many actors and their contributions towards peace in her Morijo village. In fact, today there so many markets that are flourishing as a result of peace around Morijo, such as Leparmarai at Lorian, Lowua, Oibor and Morijo.

Collaboration with the government of Kenya and other field organizations

Two respondents highlighted that Shalom came to the field to supplement the work of churches, the government and other field organizations in the following statements:

The government of Kenya through the county government and local chiefs has been telling us to live in harmony with our neighbours the Turkana. Also churches started sensitizing those rustlers, the drunkard that they should know the importance of God and abandon these habits. Then came Shalom to train us about conflict resolution strategies (Pastor Moses, Nauyapong’ [Pokot West], interviewed on September 21, 2022).

Right now, we have 9 to 10 years of peace in this corridor, this is the result of Shalom work, which came to boost peace committees established by other organisations but which have deserted the area (Jeremiah Losike, Loreng’kipi [Turkana], interviewed on September 20, 2022).

Collaboration begins with the acknowledgment of others’ efforts in peacebuilding: Shalom did not consider the Pokot-Turkana area as a tabula rasa; its peace initiatives constitute a supplement to the work of the government of Kenya and other field organizations. With regard to collaboration between Shalom and the government of Kenya, it is worth noting first of all that the development of conflict management policy dates way back to the British colonial epoch and the independent Kenya has been restless in enforcing policies that regulate relationships between different ethnic communities and fair distribution of national resources (Constitution of Kenya, 2010, Part1, Art.60, §1; Ghai & Ghai, 2011). Shalom wishes that local administrators be more engaged with regard to the issues of unfair trade, livestock theft and land issue. In other words, along the community resource persons (CRPs), local government authorities are benefitting from Shalom programmes whose objective is to enhance community driven conflict response capacities (Kitale Workshop, March 2022).

Beside the government institutions, Pastor Moses and Losike respectively acknowledge the contribution of churches and field organization towards peace; that churches of all denominations, for instance, have been preaching about peace in those areas torn apart by ethnic conflicts, sensitizing especially men to shun violence. In the same vein, Devine (2023) acknowledges the existence of Catholic Justice and Peace Commissions, which among other endeavors, run and monitor programmes on conflict management, civic peace and justice. The collaboration between Shalom and the Catholic Church through her Justice and Peace Commission is illustrated by such programmes as joint facilitation of peace meetings, supporting schools and students, building and equipping educational and health facilities.

Collaboration with schools in matter of peace

In addition to churches, government and field organizations, Shalom has also been collaborating with schools in matters of peace.

I really appreciate this initiative of Shalom because peace education is applied in Kenya in general and in every subject here at our school in particular. Shalom is doing a good job: I personally have gained a lot from Shalom trainings since the time I started working with it in 2015, indeed I have learned a lot. So, as an individual Shalom has helped me and has also helped children in my school for establishing peace clubs that spread peace within the school. In case there is a problem, they (peace club members) are the first ones to intervene (Deputy-Headteacher, Suguta Marmar School [Samburu], interviewed on October 14, 2022).

The establishment of peace clubs within schools is another area of cooperation whereby headteachers, teachers and schooling children are called upon to value the importance of peace, hence become ambassadors of peace at school and in their respective communities. In this regard, Shalom has drafted a syllabus of peace education which is implemented in schools through peace clubs that have been established in schools within conflict environments. Peace education is very important as it fosters a more peaceful culture by teaching people about the havoc of violence and the mechanisms to resolve it (Salomon & Cairns, 2011). UNICEF (2017) argues that the learners at the end of their peace education training must become good communicators and mediators in conflict resolution. In the context of Northern Kenya, peace education (formal or informal) can be useful in training communities in matters of ethnic cohabitation, reconciliation, social cohesion and other values that will replace the common threats to identity and dehumanisation. Shalom does not limit its interventions at the establishment of peace clubs, it also helps in building and equipping educational facilities.


In addition to training communities in conflict analysis and resolution, Shalom also provides humanitarian support to the areas worst affected by the inter-ethnic conflicts. According to the subsequent responses, schools have reaped more from Shalom interventions:

Shalom should continue the work it has started, namely, to help through improving schools’ infrastructure. Shalom has been instrumental in improving our schools through construction of dormitories, classes, supplying furniture, learning materials like books and also boarding facilities like beds and mattresses. Indeed, Shalom has a lot of impact on our community of Loreng’kipi (Jeremiah Losike, Loreng’kipi [Turkan], interviewed on September 20, 2022).

The above respondent’s testimony is corroborated by Shalom data found on its website. In fact, under the tag “what we do”, Shalom consecrates 31% of its annual budget to the educational infrastructure within the conflict resolution scheme. Shalom believes that conflict resolution goes in tandem with sustainable human development, that the latter is attained through tangible projects, such as building of schools. Therefore, in its areas of operation, Shalom has helped in the construction of schools and fences round them, and equipping them with solar energy system, mattresses, beds, desks, chairs and many other furniture. One Shalom Report dating 12th July 2021 indicates that between 2019 and 2021, “Shalom-SCCRR has supported 97 schools/educational development projects benefitting over 22,895 boys and girls in the 28 conflict zones. The support to these schools-institutions leads to children being able to access education and inculcate attitudes and behaviors that reflect and inspire values of peaceful co-existence in their communities. One such school is St. Peter’s Nursery and Primary School in Lorgum, Turkana County.”


This paper intended to share the beneficiaries’ views on Shalom field programmes. The said beneficiaries mainly mentioned and appreciated the training in conflict resolution and analysis, the collaboration that exists between Shalom and other peace stakeholders, especially local authorities, the churches and the government of Kenya, and the support which Shalom provides schools with. The analysis of respondents’ responses showed that there is a certain collation in the programmes of Shalom in the sense that the training and the material aid to schools are facilitated by the collaboration and the trust that exists between Shalom and the mentioned actors/beneficiaries.

This being said, the author was curious to know what more the beneficiaries expect from Shalom. They promptly recommended the following:

  1. (Deputy-Headteacher, Suguta-Marmar [Samburu], interviewed on October 14, 2022…);

All in all, the satisfaction of the beneficiaries of Shalom programmes is a clear indicator that Shalom is doing a commendable work in the field, which aims at conflict transformation through peace education, hence the appeal to all well-wishers to support Shalom financially, morally and spiritually by raising hands to God, that He may continue to bless all Shalom undertakings. Paraphrasing Lederach (2017), we avow that peace in Northern Kenya remains a long process, it might take time but it surely needs energy and cooperation of all to be attained.


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