Shalom’s (SCCRR) work is to transform the underlying causes of conflict right from the grassroots level. In doing this we identify and partner with relevant stakeholders with the aim of bringing positive Peace and sustainable development. Shalom Center has continued to expand its mission across various conflict prone regions so as to intervene and empower the communities to address and resolve their own conflicts.
In early September, Shalom-SCCRR conducted a community entry workshop with the intention of validating the analyzed data research conducted between May and July. The Shalom team also mobilized the local peacebuilding committees that could also constitute a Natural Resource Management (NRM) group that currently does not exist. Laying the foundation through investigating what exists and how the conflict in the area manifests, would form the basis of conducting a scenario-building with this community. In addition, this foundation process would allow Shalom-SCCRR to contextualize the trainings to meet the needs of the community as well as empower them to be architects of their interdependent future.
The community entry process that Shalom has been conducting is timely in this region. Some of the conflict that is experienced in this region is evidenced in the violent livestock raiding between inter-ethnic communities, land boundary disputes especially after the redrawing of the new administrative boundaries under the system of devolution, conflict over natural resources like minerals, farmlands, pasture and water. These protracted ethnic conflicts have caused so much violence triggered by organized retaliatory raids. Questions have to be asked and responded to concerning what is lacking in their environment in terms of peace building policy and institutions in the area. There is need for answers at the personal, relational, structural and cultural levels. The frequency of these conflicts makes the vulnerable community members and local leaders embrace any efforts geared towards peace. The community has on previous occasions interacted with different organizations nevertheless they feel their needs are not being addressed. The Turkana community living there know the importance of coexisting peacefully with the ethnic other which include the Pokot, Tepeth and the Matheniko. Thus the community wholeheartedly invited SCCRR to intervene and walk with them; the communities were willing to commit themselves to engage the approach and methodology of Shaloms’ peacebuilding process.
The conflict dynamics are more of socio-economic, cultural and technological. Socio-economically raiding of livestock is no longer for the status of the community. Culturally there is a growing disconnect between the young and the elders, the former seems to ignore and disregard the counsel of the latter with matters. Mobile technology in the region has also seen the Pokot and Turkana youth quickly organize for the selling of stolen animals and spying on either side to inform each other on upcoming conflict.
The group engaged in the preliminary workshop was constituted by men, women and youths from different organized groups like Peace committees, Youth council members, Kraal (Village) elders, Kenya Police Reservists and Reformed warriors. Their vast experience and knowledge of the local community dynamics helped clarify and verify the data obtained from the research process. The interaction also helped SHALOM to identify and constitute the groups that would inform the implementation of projects based on Natural Resource Management, Conflict Early Warning, and Women in Peacebuilding. SCCRR appreciates the collaboration of all the stake holders, such as APAD (Agency for Pastoralist Development), and thanks everyone for sharing the history of their experiences of the conflict system in the region, which helps to inform and assist the SCCRR team in implementation of the project. We are very optimistic for positive results to unfold, especially because of the commitment of the people to the process, the quality of research and training expertise being applied, and the overall desire of all the leaders and parties to bring about a better future for their children’s peace, education, and development.
By Esther Kibe
SCCRR Program Assistant-Intern