The core activity of the Shalom Center for Conflict Resolution and Reconciliation is conflict resolution and reconciliation, leading to endurable peace. Together with the rigorous initiatives to achieve this objective in Eastern Africa, is a highly concentrated educational and infrastructural development component. Peace education and institutional enhancement is critical in the overall framework of Shalom’s methodology.
Literacy levels in the conflict areas are very low and this is one of the contributing factors that leads to conflict. The communities are therefore vulnerable and Shalom sees the involvement in educational initiatives as a mid to long term strategy in conflict prevention, management and resolution.
SCCRR’s main objective is to help improve students’ learning environment, raise academic performance, increase accessibility to quality education, develop new learning infrastructure, fostering peace and unity among interethnic student population. With the unwavering support from our donors, students in these areas gain necessary skills and knowledge that will percolate to their communities.
Solar lighting for schools
One aspect of our objective is to make learning accessible and conducive by encouraging students to study at night to enhance academic standards. The creation of night classes for shepherd boys and girls has over the years become popular and helps reduce illiteracy among the communities. We also support medical centers which serve inter-ethnic communities with solar power so that community members can get efficient and effective medical services.
During the year 2015, a total of 9 educational institutes were equipped with solar panels, batteries and accessories, including:
- The Mercy Center-Lokori in Turkana County
- Good Shepherd School at Lololo Village in Turkana County
- Christ the King Secondary School in Senetwo in Kitale County
- Munanga Primary School in Mumias, Bungoma County
- Loiyangalani Primary School in Marsabit County
- St Elizabeth Health Center in Turkana County.
All the units were supplied as per the time frame and the impacts include:
- The classes that were conducted at night have boosted educational standards and also given an opportunity to large populations of boys and girls to access primary education.
- The level of literacy and numeracy is expected to increase in the surrounding communities; this will foster peaceful co-existence among them.
- Child mortality rate are expected to drop as the medical centers helped will offer better maternity care for mothers of the communities, even during the night. Other services like consultations, pharmacy and clinical diagnosis have resumed normal operations. Students from neighboring communities will have easy access to the shared facility and therefore reduce school absenteeism.
Building Materials for Class Rooms Construction
Shalom supported seven schools, one integrated educational center and one early child development center with construction materials necessary to construct of 12 classrooms and two girls toilets. These education centers are located in different arid areas of Northern Kenya. The benefitted centers of excellence include:
- Todonyang Integrated Center, Turkana County
- Lobur Nursery School, Turkana County
- St Stephen High School, Canaan, Turkana County
- Barina Secondary School, Nakuru County
- Burgei Secondary School, Nakuru County
- Comboni mixed Primary School, Nadapal South Sudan
- Nkutuk Lmuget Primary School, Samburu County
- More than 1,000 under-privileged students can now access quality education, including peace building programs, through construction of additional classrooms to mitigate challenges arising from poverty, congestion, inadequate learning space and challenges of weather.
- The school enrollment is increasing due to the conducive learning environment. Pupils from different ethnic communities now go to school together and learn how to share resources and co-exist together.
- Building these classrooms will give the girl child an opportunity to study in a suitable academic environment.
- Women are great influencers of culture and shaping the next generation, hence Shalom’s keen interest providing access to education for girls.
Provision of Text Books
Under this activity, a total of 11 schools and two learning centers were supplied with over 5,000 copies of textbooks and teaching aids. The main objectives being to help schools raise educational performance by supporting them with textbooks. This will go a long way in increasing literacy levels for young shepherds (boys & girls) and other students. The following schools and centers were supported:
- St John Bosco Rehabilitation Center, Kitale County
- Todonyang Integrated Center, Turkana County
- St Charles Lwanga Primary School
- Baqaqa, Forolle, Sirima, Moite, St. Mary, Sacred Heart, John Paul 2, Mpagas, Farakoren Primary Schools, Marsabit County.
- Reduced illiteracy among the pupils who will later become agents of peace as a result of wider knowledge in conflict analysis and development issues. A projection of 50-60% increase in enrollment will be gained in nine schools by end of year 2016.
- The Centers act as rescue centers for children and community members who are displaced during conflict periods, and gives opportunity to nurture and educate the community to become good architects of peace building in the future.
- An improved mean score and educational performance in schools was observed over the period and most schools registered an increase of 20% above the previously recorded mean grades.
- The quality of education has improved. The availability of resources such as stationary, decent classroom and desks, etc. facilitates the process of teaching and learning that in turn affects the quality of education.
One of the greatest successes of the Shalom work to date is the continual growth of inter-ethnic education, bringing children, parents, leaders from warring communities together and fostering a mutually reinforced road of peace together.