Working to End the Cycle of Violence in the Tribal Lands of Eastern Africa

SHALOM-SCCRR CHAIRMAN’S REPORT FOR 2018

Introduction

SHALOM-SCCRR is a non-political and non-profit organisation which is inter-religious and non-sectarian, and is committed to working  in peace-building within conflict environments in Eastern Africa.

2018 was another successful year in our 9 year history.  Our interventions in conflict transformation and peace-building in Kenya were evaluated by Mike Williams, an international development consultant with wide experience of evaluating major development projects and organizationsShalom was delighted with this independent process and the value of a professional assessment.The international development sector has placed major emphasis on ‘development effectiveness’ over the last decade and, therefore, this thematic review analysed the methodology, results and effectiveness of our programs, including key trends and issues arising and lessons learned for future peace-building and human rights interventions.

SHALOM-SCCRR received an overall green rating, the highest grade, in the review which stated that:

“SHALOM-SCCRR’s approach is a model approach towards peace-building, with a strong emphasis on local research to drive interventions; a systematic approach to implementation based on international best practice models of peace-building; a community driven way of working; the application of a results-based management system; and a forward-thinking focus on education for future generations of local peace-builders”.   

This strong validation of our methodology and strategy provides great encouragement for our work in the years ahead.

The vision of SHALOM-SCCRR is: ‘A society where peace, social justice and reconciliation prevails throughout Africa’, which inspires the mission: ‘To work for a society free of physical violence and unjust social structures in Africa.’  Our mission interventions are concentrated on addressing underlying root causes of conflict and poverty, as distinct from just attending the symptoms. 

How Shalom Operates

The primary task of SHALOM-SCCRR is the identification of the underlying causes of conflict and poverty through the thorough application of empirical research and methodological rigor.  This is significantly manifested not only in our findings but in the quality of our board, management, staff and partner institutions-collaborators-consultors around the world. On this basis, we empower people in conflict environments to be the architects of their own interdependent future of reconciled coexistence, (see website; www.shalomconflictcenter.org ).

We work at the grassroots level, simultaneously partnering with people and organizations to accomplish life-changing peace and sustainable development. We are a highly qualified international team of peace and development practitioners, men and women, from within and outside Africa, with a life-long commitment to conflict transformation and development.  Our partner organizations and academic institutions are of the highest caliber.  We operate as a strictly non-sectarian and inter-religious organization, believing that successful peacebuilding and sustainable development requires the inter-dependent involvement of people from all backgrounds.

The main objective of SHALOM-SCCRR is the promotion of peaceful coexistence through conflict resolution and reconciliation in Africa. In practical terms, this is the product which the SHALOM-SCCRR team, with specialisations in research, peace studies, development, project management, political science and international relations delivers.  SHALOM-SCCRR project interventions, in 2018, were anchored in the following specific objectives:

  1. To empower local community leaders with conflict transformation analytical skills and peacebuilding techniques as a forerunner to problem-solving workshops
  2. To conduct research into the underlying causes of the conflicts so as to inform local conflict transformation interventions and policy direction for advocacy
  3. To influence national and regional (IGAD) peace and development policies towards the environment affected by conflict between pastoralist communities
  4. To strengthen the role of religious organisations, civic organisations, and NGOs in Eastern Africa with conflict transformation capacities
  5. To develop inter-ethnic schools and institutions, design and promote peace education syllabus into educational institutes, provision of solar energy, construction of classrooms, desks, books, etc., especially in areas of entrenched violent conflict.

In line with the policy directions from the SHALOM-SCCRR Board of Directors in Africa, the objectives were implemented in 22 conflict zones where manifest and structural violence needed to be transformed.  SHALOM-SCCRR’s interventions focussed particularly on issues of violence between ethnic communities living in Turkana, West Pokot, Samburu, Marsabit, Nakuru, Kisumu, Tana River, Isiolo, Nandi, Uasin Basin-Eldoret and Nairobi.  Many of these conflicts are located where Kenya interfaces with the borders of Ethiopia, the Ilemi Triangle, Uganda, South Sudan and Somalia. In poor urban settlement areas, SHALOM-SCCRR engaged substantively with the residents of Kibera, Kariobangi and Mathare Valley in Nairobi. SHALOM-SCCRR’s engagement in conflict zones in Tana River County, Eastern Kenya, focuses on where the Pokomo, Warde and Somali communities interact. 

We cannot forget, that during the 2007 post-election violence over 1,250 people were killed, tens of thousands maimed, and hundreds of thousands displaced.  In 2013, the peaceful election process resulted in numerous narratives of appreciation for SHALOM-SCCRR, from far and wide, for its role in preventing election violence.  In 2017, after the decision to repeat the Presidential election process, Shalom highlighted a few potential hotspots which unfortunately proved accurate, and needed follow-up reconciliation processes in 2018 with the relevant key influential opinion shapers from the Luo and Kalenjin ethnic communities.  This has already led to significant results on a road map to sustainable peace ameliorated by joint development initiatives. SHALOM-SCCRR’s professionalism received wide ranging attention and coverage from media outlets in Africa, and globally, such as BBC, Voice of America (VOA) Germany’s Deutsche Welle, several Irish media outlets, Xinhua News Agency in China, Terry Collins and Associates-Global Media Relations in Canada, Living Faith in India, Independent Catholic News in the UK, and many other news mediums.

Achievements in 2018

During 2018, we had evidential transformative impacts on peace and development initiatives in 15 conflict environments. SHALOM-SCCRR in Africa conducted 176 conflict transformation and peacebuilding workshops, attending to issues of inter-ethnic conflict, structural violence and post-election reconciliation interventions.  The workshop trainings directly empowered the capacity of 2,984 participants of whom 38% were women. The provision of analytical skills, peace building techniques and joint inter-ethnic/interreligious development projects were at the core of the empowerment. The attendees included chiefs, elders, government officials, women’s leaders, religious leaders, real and potential warriors, youth and other political-economy actors.  

Emerging from our conflict transformation interventions, SHALOM-SCCRR completed 46 major development assignments composed of 45 school-educational projects – 34 primary, 11 secondary and 1 adult education program, assisting 13,147 pupils/students with classrooms, water, security, desks, books, solar energy and sanitary needs, and 1 intervention supporting the prevention of human trafficking.  In addition, 11 primary schools, comprising of 5,750 pupils, have been the target population for the implementation of the successful Shalom Educational Peace Syllabus.  Peace clubs have emerged in these schools located in the conflict environments of Samburu, Marsabit, Turkana, West Pokot, and in Nairobi’s urban settlements. 59 teachers from these schools have also been receiving specialized training as Peace Club patrons.  

SHALOM-SCCRR condemns the abominable crime of human trafficking and financially supports interventions to counter this evil. Of significant note also are the continuing SHALOM-SCCRR interethnic and interreligious peace and educational interventions in South Sudan.

In dangerous semi-arid terrains and underdeveloped conflict zones, the above activities by SHALOM-SCCRR involve extraordinary diplomatic, organisational and logistical efforts from the board, management, programme teams, staff and partners: well done to all. Killing, maiming and displacement manifest themselves frequently in these conflict environments.  At the heart of the SHALOM-SCCRR specialized ‘modus operandi’ is collaboration, empowering communities in conflict to be analysers, owners and architects of their own inter-dependent future, from the bottom up as distinct from the diagnostic solutions being prescribed from the top down. The avoidance of an arrogance of ignorance and the ignorance of arrogance by all involved in the process of conflict resolution and reconciliation is a benchmark caveat in this ‘modus operandi’. 

The peace-development nexus is the core constituent component of SHALOM methodology enabling people to meet their basic human needs and actualise their potential.  This approach is not only about transforming violent manifest conflict primarily to settlement, which is only the absence of direct violence (negative peace), it is also about addressing the issues of structural violence as a necessary ingredient needing paramount attention in order to achieve positive peace (resolution).

The SHALOM-SCCRR Monitoring, Evaluation, Reporting and Learning team (M.E.R.L), in conjunction with the Research Department, are vigilant in focusing on the root causes of conflict, and analysing progress, trends, lessons learned and emerging variables. The role of the M.E.R.L department in the organizations interventions cannot be underestimated. The continuing enthusiastic and voluntary participation of government, religious and civic society associations in SHALOM-SCCRR conferences, conflict transformation and peace training programs, research collection methodology, advocacy about conflict issues, fostering of inter-ethnic school education, inter-religious Dia-Praxis initiatives, solar lightning projects, confirms the importance of SHALOM-SCCRR’s contribution.

Central to the theoretical interventions of SHALOM-SCCRR in conflict zones is the application of the analytical paradigms of Realism (Strategist), Structuralism (Peace Research) and Conflict Research. Following from this stage the modules concentrating on conflict transformation and reconciliation are implemented.  In sync with these stages, various other conflict management modules were enhanced to address the following issues throughout Kenya:

  1. role of women in conflict and peace building
  2. methodologies to transform natural resource and environment related conflicts
  3. researching and countering the underlying causes of radicalization and extremism-terrorism (see Article – “Radicalization and Extremism in Eastern Africa: Dynamics and Drivers” by Patrick. R. Devine: Journal of Mediation and Applied Conflict Analysis, 2017, Vol. 4, No. 2)
  4. developing interreligious ‘Dia-Praxix’ conflict and development interventions (dialogue and practical project cooperation)
  5. post-election reconciliation in the aftermath of sporadic violence
  6. progression of the strategies and dynamics of advocacy and empowerment imparted to government institutions of administration and conflict management
  7. ongoing-review of SHALOM-SCCRR educational peace manual for school curriculums
  8.  dynamics between conflict transformation and the development of interethnic and interreligious schools
  9. dynamics of pastoralist nomads transitioning to arable farming
  10. development of competent conflict transformation strategies for women and youth organisations in the slum areas of Nairobi
  11. engagement with the conflict warriors in conflict behaviour transitioning
  12. transformation of identity based inter-ethnic conflicts to reconciliation
  13. course content on ‘Conflict Resolution and Reconciliation’ taught at Tangaza University College ( Catholic University of Eastern Africa-CUEA)

The implementation of these modules is a high priority in the years ahead. Concerning objective No. 2, the analysis of numerous conflicts continues under the supervision of SHALOM-SCCRR’s Director of Research, Prof. W.K Omoka, Ph.D, aptly supported by the M.E.R.L team led by Francis Mwangi, MA, ensure SHALOM-SCCRR interventions are kept to the optimum level.

SHALOM-SCCRR personnel are continuing to engage in numerous project initiatives with government personnel and our MoU partner IGAD (Intergovernmental Authority on Development), about co-operative interventions aimed at fulfilling objective No. 3 and 4. The advocacy role of SHALOM-SCCRR in this process involves much expertise and persistency.  Particular attention has been also applied to training skills in CEWARN (Conflict Early Warning) is all the places we work.

Fundraising and Governance 

The importance of external fundraising, in collaboration with the contributions of local communities, to realize the vision and mission of Shalom cannot be underestimated.   Through the generosity of donors offering funding, labour, time, and prayer to the cause of SHALOM-SCCRR, we are able to operationalise the objectives of our organization. The support of the African people where SHALOM-SCCRR works is also much honoured. Our Audited Accountsare a reflection of your kindness and express the accountability of SHALOM-SCCRR to your faith in its vision, mission, core values and governance.

During 2018, we strengthened our fundraising process in our supporting affiliate branches of SHALOM-SCCRR. Internationally, we have registered affiliate branches in the Republic of Ireland, the UK-N. Ireland, and in the USA (Shalom Center of Africa – 501c3).  Each of these entities has their own independent board’s functioning as satellite support units to the work of SHALOM-SCCRR in Africa.  We continue to welcome the ever increasing number of individual donors to our support units. These partnerships enabled SHALOM-SCCRR to become more autonomous, self-reliant, and pure of purpose in line with our objectives for providing conflict transformation and peace building programs, educational development projects to schools and other development projects. The gratitude of SHALOM-SCCRR in Africa and that of our beneficiary communities isimmense.

In a review of our funding arrangements in August 2017 we informed Misean Cara in Ireland of our decision not to seek further funding from them, and to concentrate on strengthening our collaborative working relationships with other donors in the years ahead.

During 2018, Misean Cara released a report on an evaluation it carried out on SHALOM-SCCRR’s methodology and practices in peace-building and conflict transformation. The consultant awarded us the highest possible rating which was an excellent recognition of the value of our work. His report stated:

“In many aspects, SHALOM-SCCRR’s contextually driven, rigorous but adaptable and forward-looking methodology represents a model approach towards peace-building in highly complex situations, such as those that pertain in Northern Kenya.  Grounding the project interventions on local research is crucial to its success, and the emphasis on education (and peace education in particular) is vital in forming and influencing the mindsets of the next generation, in what is inevitably a long-term change process towards peaceful co-existence of a wide range of warring parties. The approach, with its emphasis on community leadership, stakeholder participation, high technical competency, logic models, and results frameworks, stories of change and advocacy linkages also reflects current best practice within both the peace-building and development sectors”.  

Shalom puts strong emphasis on effectiveness, efficiency and delivery of value for money in all of our activities. We were very pleased to see the high quality and the effectiveness of our work being recognized in this important and independent evaluation.

In an audit of funding received from Misean Cara during the period 2012–2017, their auditor reported that, SCCRR undertakes project level and organisational audits in line with good practice. SCCRR takes audits seriously and actively implements recommendations”. Having completed our contractual obligations and with confirmation that the funding was used appropriately and effectively in the delivery of impact and results, we wish to express appreciation to Misean Cara for its past support.  Our gratitude also goes to SHALOM-SCCRR’s management and staff for their accountability and dedication to high standards during the year.

We continued our programme of strengthening and updating our governance and range of policies across the organization to ensure good practice, accountability, effectiveness, efficiency, and transparency.

Human rights and appreciation for ethnic diversity are key measuring rods for legitimacy in respect to fulfilling SHALOM-SCCRR’s interventions. SHALOM-SCCRR’s core values are non-violent conflict transformation, integral human development and security, integrity, respect for local culture/traditions, and justice. The road to peace is not easy but the quest is forever worthwhile. The Board of SHALOM-SCCRR (Africa) worked generously and tirelessly providing quality oversight, expertise and wisdom, thus, endowing SHALOM-SCCRR with a strong structure and professionalism going forward.  

The SDGs in the Context of Peace

SDG No. 16 aims to promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide justice for all, and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels. It asks “how can a country develop—how can people eat and teach and learn and work and raise families—without peace? And how can a country have peace without justice, without human rights, without government based on the rule of law?

That goal is specifically focused on positive peace in societies where sustainable development can take place and be effective. All of the SDGs are inter-linked and predicated on a minimum of negative peace and the potential for the realisation of positive peace. They recognise that sustainable development without sustainable peace is not possible.

The UN Sustainable Peace Initiative places preventive action and post-conflict peace-building on par with peace-making and peace-keeping. The report by the Secretary General to the High Level Meeting on Sustaining Peace held in New York in April has laid the groundwork for an important policy-breakthrough, empowering civilians with new tools, better management practices, and hopefully new financial resources to contribute to a more integrated and coherent framework for global conflict management that delivers positive peace.

Important features of the initiative are:

  1. It elevates the role of civil society and regional organisations in sustaining peace.
  2. It stresses that the UN development system and development practitioners in general are central to conflict prevention and sustaining peace.
  3. It buttresses the case for “more predictable and sustained financing” for civilian-led peace-building through a proposed Funding Compact with Member States, against the backdrop of declining development assistance to conflict-affected countries as a share of global aid (from 40% in 2005 to 28% in 2015).

We welcome the elevation of the role of civil society in sustaining peace, and support the case for “more predictable and sustained financing” for civilian-led peace-building. SHALOM-SCCRR is well placed to play a leading role within civil society and in collaboration with other actors.

During the year, the government of Ireland issued a public consultation paper seeking ideas and suggestions for consideration in its forthcoming new policy on its overseas aid programme. Based on our professional knowledge and expertise and our practical experience, we made a substantial submission advocating that Ireland’s new aid policy should include focus on peace-building and conflict transformation. We are aware that a number of Irish NGOs, including Christian Aid and Concern Worldwide/Institute for International Conflict Resolution & Reconstruction at Dublin City University, made similar submissions.

Appreciation to our Management and Staff

To the Country Director, Fr. Oliver Noonan MA, the board again offers its utmost appreciation for exemplary professionalism and leadership in his project implementation and the financial administration of SHALOM-SCCRR-Kenya.  The board also wishes to thank Dr. Peter Linus, the Deputy Country Director, the Programme Manager, Godfrey Okoth MA, and his assistants Joyce Wamae MA, and Paulson Erot Tadeo MA, for their proficient role in program design and application.  Our appreciation extends to the SHALOM-SCCRR finance department of accountant Duncan Akhobe, CPA, Dip-KNEC, B.COM, and his assistant accountant Kipkoech Kipruto ACCA, and all involved in auditing our accounts for their professionalism and rigour.  Our immense appreciation is due to the whole 2018 SHALOM-SCCRR team, and all organisational partners for their dedication, collaboration, project implementation and the quality of results unfolding. Our ‘project product delivery’, in respect to peace and human-environmental security, is visible proof of your exceptional contribution towards SHALOM-SCCRRs life-changing interventions.  The lives of tens of thousands of men, women, children and families, from a large number of ethnic communities, have not only been saved but positively transformed for ever in ways that will ripple splendidly into their future of hope and security. 

International Engagements and Academic Lectures

Another occurrence of particular note in 2018 were the invitations from numerous high profile institutes around the world where I was invited to share on the SHALOM-SCCRR’s unique methodology and expertise in dealing with issues of conflict, radicalization and extremism. In July, I presented to the AMECEA Plenary Assembly held at the United Nations HQ in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.  There were over 400 international delegates drawn from the governance, religious, and the NGO peace-development sectors. The subject matter was the issue of “Conflict Transformation, Radicalization and Extremism in Eastern Africa; Perspectives”.  

In November, I accepted the invitation of DePaul University in Chicago to give a lecture concerning, ‘On the Ground in Eastern Africa: Creating Peace amid Conflict and Religious Extremism’.  Much appreciation is due to all the organizers and to the wider community engagements about the development of Shalom that I had, particularly in the Chicago and San Diego areas.  These events were very important opportunities to share with diverse audiences of academia, social practitioners, religious representatives, politicians and civil society actors who are engaged with issues of manifest and structural violence, achieving sustainable peace and development.  

The Shalom methodology was very favourably received and endorsed during these engagements. The main tenets were: theory-praxis dynamics in conflict transformation; the nexus between peace and sustainable development; environmental issues and conflict; the creation of ‘Africa’s Great Green Wall’ to prevent on-going desertification, improve the environmental carrying capacity, address the root causes of the refugee crisis; religion and conflict; radicalization and extremism, and successful approaches to peace-building. This was informed by the SHALOM-SCCRR’s experiences and steadfast commitment to holistic human security in the greater Africa Region.

In Kenya, SHALOM-SCCRR personnel continue to lecture at various Third level colleges, such as the MA course on Social Research and Statistics at Hekima University College, and the course on Conflict Resolution and Reconciliation at Tangaza University College. Other members of the team are also involved with the University of Nairobi and with Strathmore University College.  Our MoUs and partnerships with 1GAD,  Edward M. Kennedy Institute for Conflict Intervention at the National University of Ireland, Maynooth,  Senator George Mitchell Institute for Global Peace, Security and Justice at Queens University Belfast, AMECEA (Association of Member Episcopal Conferences in Eastern Africa), Trócaire,  and the Society of African Missions (SMA) will continue to further progressive interactions and conflict intervention initiatives.

SHALOM-SCCRR in Practice

The living generic meaning of ‘Shalom’, and its cognates Salaam, Salem, Salamu, centres on peace, justice and reconciliation integrated holistically.  As a process, ‘Shalom’ is about achieving a harmonious unity of human security among and between people.  All of us, together, can bring about lasting peace and sustained development by aiming at deep-rooted transformation of conflict generating issues and structures through Conflict Management Training, Research, Peace Education, Inter-community School Projects, and Problem Solving Workshops. This will undoubtedly involve embracing the past, reframing the present and envisioning a future built on an authentic implementation of SHALOM-SCCRR’s wholeness.

Looking to the Future with Confidence

The year ahead will build and expand on the achievements and success of SHALOM-SCCRR. Let’s move forward together with a convictional unity of purpose. Our vision believes in adhering to the right long term policies in our approach to conflict resolution and reconciliation, resisting to settle for ‘short term quick fixes’ or the transient gains of myopic insular politics.  Many people in remote, violent and poverty stricken environments are waiting to experience ‘Shalom’.

Through our newsletters, posts, and other forms of social media, our communication department continues to make public and transparent the results achieved, processes engaged in, lessons learned and needs going forward. Once again, our deep felt gratitude to all our donors for their involvement in the progress of this peace-development nexus; it cannot be emphasised enough.  May the blessings of peace be experienced by all who are involved in the vision, mission, fruits and goodwill of SHALOM-SCCRR. 

In thanking our donors, those who offer prayer and well-wishers, let me assure all that SHALOM-SCCRR will be diligent in continuing to strive to achieve our objectives to the highest standards, in the year ahead. The people we work among and our donors deserve our abundant fidelity. We must always keep in mind that what is needed for evil to triumph, whether in the form of violence, injustices or untruths, is for good people to do nothing and consequently even become part of the malevolence!

SHALOM, SALAAM, SALAMU, SALEM,

Fr. Patrick Devine, Ph.D, Executive Chairman, SHALOM-SCCRR, Kenya

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