Eastern Africa

“Transforming Manifest Violence  >>> Negative Peace  >>> Positive Peace”

By June 25, 2023 July 18th, 2023 No Comments

By Vivian Adhiambo, MA Candidate.

Shalom-SCCRR’s Problem Solving Approach Continues Development Collaboration among Former Arch-Adversaries; An Account of the Developing Positive Peace between the Turkana and Samburu Tribes from the Parkati and Tuum locations.

For a number of years the Shalom Center for Conflict Resolution and Reconciliation (SCCRR) has been steadily reinforcing the conflict resolution skills and peacebuilding capacities of communities from Tuum (Samburu Community) and Parkati (Turkana Community). With its firm grounding on the empirical research whose focus was on the underlying causes of conflict between the Turkana and Samburu, this intervention exposed the influential community opinion shapers into the broad spectrum of the various peacebuilding techniques. Furthermore, development of educational facilities and establishment of the peace culture among the diversity of learners were critical pillars of the intervention that had a very comprehensive outreach to local stakeholders. These capacity strengthening engagements culminated in joint problem solving workshops whose ultimate goal was to attain a long-term culture of positive peace where both communities express mutual concern for the wellbeing, security and development of each other.

Shalom-SCCRR’s Mr. Godfrey Okoth MA, continues to engage community leaders on their role in the problem solving process being implemented in Tuum and Parkati areas.

The 5-Phase Problem-Solving Workshops have been conducted with the participation of   community resource persons (influential opinion shapers) from both the Turkana and Samburu communities who have suffered greatly from this conflict for ages.  

Visiting Irish Government Minister Joe McHugh, and Shalom-SCCRR’s International Chairman Rev. Dr. Patrick Devine at a previous successful integrated interethnic problem solving event while also visiting a Shalom developed school stabilizing the road-map of peace-dividends and progress.

Phase 1 gave both communities the opportunity to express conflict-cycle issues while also identifying the needs, interests, fears and aspirations of both within the conflict environment context. Phase 2 enabled them to further recognize and appreciate the needs, interests, fears and concerns of the other while jointly identifying the priority issues that unfortunately enable the persistence of some conflict incidences between communities residing in Tuum and Parkati.

Shalom-SCCRR has supported Parkati primary School with desks, learning and teaching materials as well as construction of facility where teachers resides, and a water tank to help with sanitation and water storage.

Phase 3, empowered the resource persons to identify and agree on four main conflict issues that bear the greatest effect on the community’s well-being. The issues prioritized were; criminal activities, persistent revenge, competition over local natural resources and negative ethnic stereotyping which shaped up the frame of activities that the communities chose to effect change. Phase 4 has provided the opportunity for joint implementation of the plans established in phase 3 while also providing space for the influential opinion shapers to monitor the progress.

Shalom-SCCRR’s Mr. Kennedy Akoko MA, facilitating a training workshop on problem solving to further equip the community opinion shapers with the skills needed to enhance the process.

The problem solving initiative has not only managed to equip the affected communities with skills and techniques of peacebuilding but also entrenched inter-communal trust and a constructive working relationship leading to the opening up of trade, operability of service-based institutions and improving development in its entirety. These joint workshops are some of the many other indicators of change for the community, given the eventual willingness to cooperate despite the myriad obstacles that came across their way. The main objective of engaging in Problem Solving Workshops has been to further transform the adversarial attitudes and behaviors and to support the communities in jointly defining the problem associated with the persistence of conflict among them. Ultimately, the initiative is geared towards instituting healthy relationships that enable joint thinking towards long term conflict resolution and establishment of joint development projects.

Turkana and Samburu members of the Problem Solving Committee (trained by Shalom) leading a discussion on their own towards finding agreement on fundamental issues relevant to the progression of the peace process.

Ms. Agnes Lesilila, the Community Animator from Tuum supports the gains from the workshops stating; “Since Shalom’s conflict transformation and peacebuilding initiatives started here, the region has been able to achieve some sense of order and a lot of positive changes are being witnessed, for example, inter-ethnic communities are now able to mingle and carry out business activities together and children are now able to access schools as a result of Shalom’s numerous strategic educational/infrastructural developments in schools.”

Shalom-SCCRR’s delivering school/educational materials to Primary and Secondary Schools in a marginalized conflict environment in Samburu County, Northern Kenya (We got there!!)

The implementation of activities generated from the collaboration have enabled the communities to gain commitment and optimism. The local communities continue to appreciate Shalom- SCCRR’s work in Samburu County, having journeyed progressively with them and having gotten them into a space where they can attest that they are on a solid path and vision to interdependent integration.

Author:  Vivian Adhiambo Omondi, BA (MA Candidate), Shalom-SCCRR In-Training Capacity Program.

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