By: Moses Osiro MA,
The concepts of conflict management and peacebuilding are not new, more so in their application within the African continent. Be that as it may, conflict remains a huge inhibitor in Africa, rendering local ethnic communities stagnant in matters development thus leading to increased impoverishment. Conflict has adverse effects on development and its process. Therefore, pertinent questions need to be asked in critically analyzing why conflicts in Africa exist, remain volatile, uncertain, complex, ambiguous and their net effect on African states’, more specifically, ethnic communities’ development progress.
My search for critical reflections and analysis about the conflict, peace and development nexus within the African continent led me to the Shalom Centre for Conflict Resolution and Reconciliation (SCCRR) in Nairobi, Kenya. The Shalom-SCCRR founded in 2009 against the backdrop of Kenya’s 2007/8 Post Election Violence and persistent inter-ethnic conflict in eastern Africa, is an inter-religious peacebuilding non-governmental organization working for sustainable peace and development throughout Africa. With a qualified team, Shalom-SCCRR has made tremendous strides, in-roads and vital transformative interventions in addressing manifest conflict-behavior and also structural violence, which is latent and invisible, in the East African region. Shalom-SCCRR has been involved in over 750 conflict transformation/peacebuilding interventions in 28 conflict zones in Eastern Africa, out of which has resulted in numerous invaluable peace dividends, one being, for example, the 560 school/educational development projects implemented, that are inter-ethnic and inter-religious in essence, agreed on by all parties.
Shalom-SCCRR has received widespread recognition from both professional and academic circles in its conflict resolution and peacebuilding work within Africa. For instance, Shalom-SCCRR received the coveted United Nations (U.N) accreditation under the U.N Department of Global Communications. This means Shalom-SCCRR is part of a wider global network of over 1,500 non-governmental organizations worldwide, all pursuing a peaceful and just world. This platform also offers an excellent opportunity for other peacebuilding organizations affiliated to the U.N to benefit from the expertise and methodologies of Shalom-SCCRR. The accreditation was strongly supported by the Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD), a regional development government organization in Eastern Africa as well as the United Nations Centre for Information (UNIC). In academia, Shalom-SCCRR through its founder and International Executive Chairperson, Rev. Dr. Patrick Devine, has been involved with numerous institutions of higher learning. Locally, Shalom-SCCRR offers a course on Conflict and Peace at Tangaza University College, where Rev. Dr. Patrick Devine is a member of the council of the University. Internationally, he has been a guest speaker at Harvard University, University of Austin-Texas, University of Houston, University of San Diego, Edward M. Kennedy Institute at Maynooth University, Stellenbosch University South Africa, and Queen’s University, Belfast, among others. Rev. Dr. Patrick Devine’s work has equally been internationally recognized via numerous awards such as the International Caring Award whose recipients include the Dalai Lama, Mother Teresa, former U.S. President Jimmy Carter, U.S. Senator George Mitchell and Pope Francis. He has also been presented with the IGAD Award for his vital contributions as a pursuer of peace and development in the region.
In eastern Africa, structural violence, which has been identified as the root cause and common denominator in majority of conflict areas in the region, refers to when human beings are influenced so that their somatic and mental realizations are below their potential realization (Galtung). One of the more recent successes of Shalom-SCCRR is Shalom’s Empowerment Centre (SEC) which focuses on addressing violence against women and children in informal urban settlements such as Kawangware, Kabiria, Satellite, Dagoretti, Waithaka, Kibera and Kangemi. Located in Riruta, Nairobi, the centre has been able and continues to engage communities in slum areas on matters capacity-building vis-a-vis analyzing trends, patterns, causes, phases and effects of conflict unique to their locations. I had the opportunity to participate in a training workshop with key opinion leaders from Kangemi informal settlement. The workshop addressed a myriad of topics, most importantly paradigms of conflict analysis and conflict transformation.
At the end of the well-planned, prepared and executed workshop, the participants were not only able to identify potential conflict situations in their community, but also articulate the underlying structural factors catalysing conflict emergence and escalation. Furthermore, the participants were trained on how to de-escalate conflict situations through negotiations and pursue dispute settlement as well as engaging in post-conflict peacebuilding activities. Such workshops serve as axiomatic evidences proving Shalom-SCCRR’s crucially successful trainings in promoting peaceful communities as envisaged in its vision and mission.
In more remote and rural areas, more specifically in Northern Kenya and borders between Kenya, Ethiopia and South Sudan, Shalom-SCCRR has been quite involved in matters pertaining to inter-ethnic conflicts and dispute resolution. One of the key areas that Shalom-SCCRR has been most influential and successful is in Samburu County. The region has been marred with inter-ethnic conflict among the Samburu, Turkana and Pokot communities. While manifesting as inter-ethnic violence due to scarcity of resources, the root causes are skewed towards structural conflict, where communities are deprived or have inadequate service delivery systems from institutions in charge of providing public goods. The net effect of this is lack of proper institutional frameworks necessary to facilitate structural transformation and better service delivery. Through its team, Shalom-SCCRR has endeavored to bridge the gap by facilitating training workshops geared towards promoting conflict transformation as well as peacebuilding. Simultaneously, Shalom-SCCRR has also been actively engaged in matters of schools’ educational development support in the region.
Shalom-SCCRR’s unique and holistic approach, supplemented by its qualified team members, who are experts in matters of conflict, peace and development, has proven both crucial and successful in its intervention strategies in many of its conflict transformation project areas. Be that as it may, the road towards full conflict transformation between and among communities in Eastern Africa still poses challenges such as but not limited to, availability of resources, lack of robust and functional institutions, education, medicine, inter-alia, law and order as well as the issue of the political economy generating the persistence of conflict. With your donor support, Shalom-SCCRR will not only intensify its intervention strategies within the affected communities but also further reach out to other communities located in emerging or new conflict areas. Please join us in your solidarity.
Moses Osiro MA, Shalom-SCCRR Project Assistant
- Human Rights are a Foundation of Shalom-SCCRR’s Conflict Resolution and Reconciliation Interventions https://shalomconflictcenter.org/human-rights-are-a-foundation-of-shalom-sccrrs-conflict-resolution-and-reconciliation-interventions
- Eastern Africa: Shalom-SCCRR receives United Nations (UN) Accreditation https://shalomconflictcenter.org/3901-2/
- IGAD endorses Shalom- SCCRR for United Nations accreditation https://shalomconflictcenter.org/igad-endorses-shalom-sccrr-for-united-nations-accreditation/
- 2009-2021 SHALOM-SCCRR RESULTS AND ACHIEVEMENTS https://shalomconflictcenter.org/2009-2021-shalom-sccrr-results-and-achievements/
- Shalom empowerment center (SEC) addressing violence against women and children: a unique shalom-SCCRR initiative opened https://shalomconflictcenter.org/shalom-empowerment-center-sec-addressing-violence-against-women-and-children-a-unique-shalom-sccrr-initiative-opened/
- The girl-child: shalom-SCCRR impacting education & the lives of young girls in marginalized and remote locations in Eastern Africa. https://shalomconflictcenter.org/the-girl-child-shalom-sccrr-impacting-the-lives-of-young-girls-in-marginalized-and-remote-locations-in-eastern-africa/
- UNITED NATIONS – Shalom (SCCRR): Recommendation received by Shalom-SCCRR for Accreditation https://shalomconflictcenter.org/united-nations-shalomsccrr-recommendation-received-by-shalomsccrr-for-accreditation/
- Tangaza University College recommends Shalom (SCCRR) For United Nations Accreditation https://shalomconflictcenter.org/tangaza-university-college-recommends-shalom-sccrr-for-united-nations-accreditation/
- 2021 SHALOM -SCCRR RESULTS/ ACHIEVEMENTS https://shalomconflictcenter.org/2021-shalom-sccrr-results-achievements/
- Shalom-SCCRR Facilitates at AMECEA Forum on Addressing Religious Ideological Extremism in Eastern Africa. https://shalomconflictcenter.org/shalom-sccrr-facilitates-amecea-forum-on-addressing-religious-ideological-extremism-in-eastern-africa/
- Voices from the Ground: Shalom-SCCRR’s Educational and Development Interventions Promoting Peace among Pastoral Communities in Lorgum Area, Turkana County. https://shalomconflictcenter.org/voices-from-the-ground-shalom-sccrrs-educational-and-development-interventions-promoting-peace-among-pastoral-communities-in-lorgum-area-turkana-county/
- Radicalization and Extremism in Eastern Africa: Dynamics and Drivers http://mural.maynoothuniversity.ie/9086/7/PD-Radicalisation-2017.pdf
- ‘Conflict transformation, Radicalization and Extremism in Eastern Africa’ https://shalomconflictcenter.org/conflict-transformation-radicalization-and-extremism-in-eastern-africa/
- Shalom Empowerment Center (SEC) Addressing Violence against Women and Children: Concept Document https://shalomconflictcenter.org/eastern-africa-shalom-empowerment-center-sec-addressing-violence-against-women-and-children-concept-document/
- Shalom-SCCRR Empowered Communities Sustaining Peace at the Kisumu-Nandi Borderline during the August 2022 Kenya’s General Elections https://shalomconflictcenter.org/shalom-sccrr-empowered-communities-sustaining-peace-at-the-kisumu-nandi-borderline-during-the-august-2022-kenyas-general-elections/
- Shalom-SCCRR’S contribution to women in conflict transformation and peacebuilding https://shalomconflictcenter.org/shalom-sccrrs-contribution-to-women-in-conflict-transformation-and-peacebuilding/
- A Future of Safety and Hope; Shalom-SCCRR providing Security Infrastructure Support to Chumvyere Primary School https://shalomconflictcenter.org/a-future-of-safety-and-hope-shalom-sccrr-providing-security-infrastructure-support-to-chumvyere-primary-school/
- Conflict Transformation and Peace-Building Across Eastern Africa: Chairman’s Report on Progress in 2021 https://shalomconflictcenter.org/conflict-transformation-and-peace-building-across-eastern-africa-chairmans-report-on-progress-in-2021/
- Harvard Lecture Focuses on Model for Peace https://shalomconflictcenter.org/harvard-lecture-focuses-on-model-for-peace/
- The welcome address by Prof. Philip Nolan, President of Maynooth University, and the response by Deputy Chief of Staff, Major General Kevin Cotter to Rev. Dr. Patrick Devine’s Lecture on ”Peace, Security, and Sustainable Development in Eastern Africa https://shalomconflictcenter.org/response-by-deputy-chief-of-staff-major-general-kevin-cotter-to-rev-dr-patrick-devines-lecture-on-peace-security-and-sustainable-development-in-eastern-africa/
- Media Release on Rev. Dr. Patrick Devine’s Lecture On ‘‘Peace, Security and Sustainable Development in Eastern Africa’’ https://shalomconflictcenter.org/media-release-on-rev-dr-patrick-devines-lecture-on-peace-security-and-sustainable-development-in-eastern-africa/
- Universities in Texas USA, and Shalom (SCCRR) Begin A Substantial Engagement towards Partnership; Lectures by Rev. Dr. Patrick Devine SCCRR https://shalomconflictcenter.org/universities-in-texas-usa-and-shalom-sccrr-begin-a-substantial-engagement-towards-partnership-lectures-by-rev-dr-patrick-devine-sccrr/
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