By Mary Ellen Doyle
Originally from the ‘Sunny’ South East of Ireland, I obtained my Undergraduate Degree in History and Geography as well as my Masters Degree in Mediation and Conflict Intervention from Maynooth University.
After completing my Masters, I continued to work closely with the Edward M. Kennedy Institute, Maynooth University as an Intern. It was during this time that I was introduced to Shalom and the incredible work they do in helping to end the cycle of violence in the tribal lands and urban slums of Kenya and other IGAD countries.
For the past year, in addition to mediation practice, I worked with a training company that specialised in effective conflict management training for managers and employees. We used a behavioural diagnostic tool that enhanced people’s self-awareness about how they respond to conflict, in turn improving both their emotional intelligence and conflict competence.
Alongside conflict prevention, I am passionate about International development. I believe that without peace; economic, social or political development is not possible. Through Peacebuilding and Conflict Management training, SCCRR work with individuals and structures at the grassroots. SCCRR use the rich data and research gathered from the field to influence both National and International development and security policies.
In the run up to the 2017 August elections, SCCRR are working with inter and intra ethic groups across Kenya to prevent and manage election violence. I was fortunate enough to attend one of these workshops last week in Molo, Nakuru County. It was empowering to see members from different ethnic groups, both men and women, not only come together but also work together to transform the current culture of conflict into one of peace. Despite the grave efforts of many community leaders and opinion shapers, there still exists a feeling of tension about potential violence in the area. It emerged during the workshop, that the week prior, a number of trucks were burnt in what some participants deemed a ‘revenge attack’ between different ethnic groups in the community.
The approach SCCRR takes to the ongoing problem of Inter-ethnic violence is unique. They set out to tackle the root causes, as distinct from just dealing with the symptoms of conflict. I am grateful for this opportunity to work alongside a team of qualified international peace practitioners who have a vocational commitment to conflict transformation in Eastern Africa.