Effectively Responding to Complex Interethnic Challenges in Kibera

By September 26, 2015 No Comments
Opinion shapers after a Shalom meeting in Kibera.

Opinion shapers after a Shalom meeting in Kibera.

By Judith Akedi

One of the dimensions of conflict in Kenya is that of community identities – which is itself closely related to the issue of land, insecurity and associated historical grievances plus a challenging political transition. Furthermore tension has been the result of crime. Sadly, some of the tension fueling violence and hatred has come from political platforms.

In the Kibera slum in Nairobi, it is quite unclear what the drivers of conflict are. Suffice to say, dialogue across communities is lacking and they perceive each other in adversarial terms. However, an outstanding characteristic of the conflict in Kibera is that it involves many un – or under-employed – young people, with politically related violence fanned by issues concerning access to political and economic power at the community level.

Acknowledging the role of community leaders/opinion shapers in peace-building sustainable change, Shalom set out last February to take this category of people through a sequence of conflict analysis and transformation trainings. SCCRR has undertaken trainings on peace-building in an attempt to empower individuals, communities and structures. Consequently, Shalom has the opinion shapers/community leaders to devise innovative interventions to social challenges. As result, the opinion shapers have been engaged in transforming structures that shape society through interventions. Among the major interventions undertaken  were:

  1. Resolution of landlord versus tenant conflict within a few villages in Kibera;
  2. Transformation of the ethnic tensions and intolerance among the Kikuyu and Luo communities; and
  3. Engaging the youth, police and the chiefs in the search for the solution to the issues of insecurity and crime in Kibera.

Receiving vital analytical skills by Shalom facilitators has seen the opinion shapers from Kibera evolve into a force for reconciliation continuously supporting local communities, especially through Christ the King Church structures.

Shalom Center

Shalom Center for Conflict Resolution and Reconciliation - contact Fr. Oliver Noonan for more information.

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