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

CHAIRMAN’S REPORT FOR 2017

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The vision of SCCRR (SHALOM) 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 core mission is to transform the underlying root causes of conflict and poverty, as distinct from just dealing with the symptoms. We empower people in conflict environments to be the architects of their own future. We are a highly qualified international team of men and women peace and development practitioners, from within and outside Africa, with a life-long commitment to conflict transformation and development. We operate as a strictly non-sectarian and inter-religious organization, believing that successful peacebuilding and sustainable development requires the involvement of people from all backgrounds. We work at the grassroots level, simultaneously partnering with people and organizations to bring life-changing peace and sustainable development.

The main objective of SCCRR, a non political and non profit organisation, is the promotion of peaceful coexistence through conflict resolution and reconciliation in Africa. In practical terms, this is the product which the SCCRR team, with specialisations in research, peace studies, development, project management, political science and international relations, delivers in the conflict environments, as it transforms manifest and structural violence. SCCRR project interventions, in 2017, were anchored on 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 interethnic 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 consultation with the policy directions from the SCCRR Board of Directors in Africa during 2017, the objectives were consistently implemented among the Dassenach, Borana, Gabra, Nyangatom, Pokot, Rendile, Samburu, Toposa and Turkana ethnic groups across northern Kenya, bordering Ethiopia, the Ilemi Triangle, Uganda, South Sudan and Somalia. SCCRR also, continued to engage in the conflict zones in Tana River County, Eastern Kenya, where the Pokomo, Warde and Somali communities interact.  Furthermore, in assisting to bring about transformation from resource based conflict, SCCRR was active among communities in Embu County.  In respect to poor urban areas SCCRR engaged consistently and substantively with the residents of Kibera, Kariobangi and Mathare Valley in Nairobi, and in urban settlements in Nakuru and Naivasha, furthering conflict resolution processes and sustainable development initiatives.

The Kenyan National Elections were held in August 2017, followed by a major dispute leading to a Supreme Court decision to repeat the Presidential election process in October. The SHALOM programme implementation involves collaboration with numerous grass root organizations, and partners. From mid-2016 onwards SCCRR was very active among all the ethnic communities and location where it works, applying proactive interventions to ensure electoral process preparedness and the prevention of election violence, right up to weeks before the election dates. This work is so important as we cannot forget that during the 2007 post-election violence, over 1250 people were killed, tens of thousands maimed, and hundreds of thousands displaced. Like in 2013, the resulting peaceful election process in August brought numerous reports of appreciation to SCCRR, from far and wide, for its role in preventing election violence.  However, after the post August decision to repeat the Presidential election process, the possibility for violence emerging in and during the repeated election increased.  The professionalism, quality and valuable work of Shalom in its role throughout the year received wide ranging attention and coverage from media outlets in Africa and globally such as BBC, Voice of America (VOA) Germany’s Deutsche Welle, Xinhua News Agency China, among others.

In 2017, we had evidential transformative impacts on peace and development initiatives in African inter-ethnic conflict environments. Shalom-SCCRR in Africa conducted 83 conflict transformation and peacebuilding workshops, attending to issues of inter-ethnic conflict and preventing electoral violence (preparedness for peaceful elections). The workshop trainings directly empowered the capacity of 2,094, of whom 42% were women. The provision of analytical skills, peace building techniques and joint inter-ethnic/inter-religious development project planning 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 influential opinion shapers. SCCRR completed 56 major development assignments composed of 45 school projects (32 primary and 13 secondary assisting 15,750 pupils/students) and 11 other community infrastructure interventions addressing Social, Medical and Water requirements.  In addition 12 primary schools in conflict zones, comprising of 6,500 pupils, have been the target population for the implementation of the successful Shalom Educational Peace Syllabus. Of commendable note also are the continuing interventions of SCCRR in South Sudan, involving peace and educational interventions. SCCRR continues to actively fund and support work aimed at overcoming human trafficking’ in Eastern Africa.

                                       Source: Country Director and the Program Management Team

In often dangerous, underdeveloped terrains, the above interventions of SCCRR involves extraordinary diplomatic, organisational and logistical efforts from the board, management, programme teams, staff and partners in the conflict zones: well done to all. The work takes place in conflict environments where people live and experience the dangerous underlying factors underpinning their warring relationships, frequently manifested in killing, maiming and displacement. At the heart of the SCCRR modus operandi is collaboration, empowering communities in conflict to be analysers, architects and owners of their own interdependent future, from the bottom up as distinct from the diagnostic solution 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 SCCRRs ‘modus operandi’.

                   Source: Country Director and the Program Management Team

The peace-development nexus is a constituent component of SHALOM’s approach. These two pillars of social cohesiveness are intrinsic to the SCCRR methodology. In basic terms this approach is not only about transforming violent manifest conflict primarily to settlement, which is only an absence of violence (negative peace), in the overall process of continually addressing structural violence as vital towards attaining positive peace (resolution). The peace-development nexus is fundamentally an intricate interdependent process concerned with enabling people to meet their basic human needs and actualise their potential.  The SCCRR monitoring and evaluation team, 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 department concerning SCCRR interventions and monitoring results among the communities where we work cannot be underestimated. The continuing enthusiastic and voluntary participation of religious organisations and civic society associations in SCCRR conferences, conflict transformation and peace training programs, research collection methodology, advocacy about conflict issues, fostering of interethnic school education, interreligious Dia-Praxis initiatives, solar lightning projects, confirms the importance of SCCRR’s contribution.

                        Source: The Country Director and the Program Management Team

Central to the theoretical interventions of SCCRR in conflict zones is the application to the analytical paradigms of Realism (Strategist), Structuralism (Peace Research) and Conflict Research. Following from this stage the modules of conflict transformation and reconciliation are implemented.  Various other conflict management components were enhanced to address the following issues throughout Kenya: (a) role of women in peace building; (b) conflict management dynamics of pastoralist nomads transitioning to arable farming; (c) developing competent conflict transformation for women and youth organisations in the slum areas of Nairobi; (d) directly engaging the warriors in conflict behaviour transitioning; (e) managing identity conflict; and (f) post-election reconciliation in the aftermath of sporadic violence during Kenya’s October 2017 national elections process. The implementation of these modules is a high priority in the years ahead. Concerning objective 2, the analysis of numerous conflicts continues, with specific emphasis aimed at the Samburu-Turkana, Pokot-Turkana, Dassenach-Turkana, Gabra-Borana, and Somali-Warde-Pokomo.

Source: The Country Director and the Program Management Team

SCCRR personnel are continuing to engage in numerous project initiatives with government personnel and our MoU partner, IGAD (Intergovernmental Authority on Development), representatives about co-operative interventions aimed at fulfilling objective 3 and 4. The advocacy role of SCCRR in this process is unlimited.

Fundraising to realize the vision and mission of Shalom is a worthwhile constant challenge. Through the generosity of donors offering funding, labour, time, and prayer to the cause of SCCRR, we are able to vibrantly operationalise the objectives of SCCRR. The support of the African people, where SCCRR works, is much honoured and never taken for granted. The audited accounts are a reflection of your kindness and express the accountability of SCCRR to your faith in its vision, mission, core values and governance. Throughout 2017 we strengthened our fundraising process in our supporting affiliate branches of SHALOM (SCCRR) internationally.  We are delighted by the fact that Shalom is now an officially registered charity in the Republic of Ireland,  the UK-N.Ireland, and in the USA (Shalom Center of Africa -501c3); each of these entities have their own independent boards, but operate as satellite support units to the work of Shalom-SCCRR in Africa.  We continue to welcome with deep appreciation the ever increasing number of individual donors to our expanding international support units. These partnerships enabled SCCRR to be become more autonomous, self-reliant and pure of purpose, in line with our objectives in providing conflict transformation and peace building programmes, educational development projects to schools and other development projects. The gratitude of Shalom (SCCRR) in Africa and that of the beneficiaries is immense.

SCCRR core values are non-violent conflict transformation, integral human development and security, integrity, respect for local culture/traditions, and justice. Human and ethnic rights are key measuring rods for legitimacy in respect to fulfilling all these values. The road to peace is not easy but the quest is forever worthwhile. The Board of SCCRR (Africa) worked generously and tirelessly providing quality oversight, expertise, and wisdom, thus endowing SCCRR with a strong structure and professionalism going forward.  To the Country Director, Fr. Oliver Noonan M.A, the board again offers its utmost appreciation for his exemplary professionalism in his role as the person responsible for project implementation and the financial administration of SCCRR-Kenya.  The board also wishes to thank the Deputy Country Director, Dr. Peter Linus, the Programme Manager, Godfrey Okoth M.A, and his assistants Joyce Wamae M.A, and Paulson Erot Tadeo M.A, for their proficient role in project design and application, the vigilant finance department led by SCCRR accountant Duncan Akhobe, CPA, Dip-KNEC, the whole SHALOM team (listed below), and all organisational partners of SCCRR for their dedication, collaboration and high standards of mission implementation. The ‘project product delivery’, in respect to peace and human-environmental security, is visible proof of your exceptional contribution towards SCCRRs life-giving interventions in conflict resolution, sustainable development and reconciliation processes.  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 the future of hope and security.

Another occurrence of particular note in 2017 were the invitations from numerous high profile institutes around the world to Fr. Patrick Devine Ph.D, to share on the SCCRR’s unique methodology and experience as an NGO in Africa. The first major event was in January, giving the key note address on the issue of, “Peacebuilding; Prevention of Radicalization and Extremism”.  The occasion was organised by ‘Operation Common Bond-Tuesday’s Children’, hosted at the Embassy of Ireland, Washington, D.C., and attended by Diplomats, Peace and Development Practitioners, Security/Intelligence personnel, Academia and other social-political governance functionaries.  SCCRR has an official MoU with the Senator George Mitchell Institute for Global Peace, Security and Justice and in March he was invited by the institute to give a public lecture on, “Inter-Ethnic Conflict Transformation: Applications in Eastern Africa”.  This was a very special event for a variety of reasons.  Apart from the opportunity to share with a diverse audience of academia and social practitioners who are engaged in transforming issues of manifest and structural violence in Northern Ireland and around the world, it was a pleasure to strengthen the partnership between The Queen’s University of Belfast and SCCRR (Kenya).  In June, at a high profile International Archaeological Conference in Zanzibar, United Republic of Tanzania, themed “Capturing the Cultural Heritage of Eastern Africa”  attended by International Government Officials, Diplomats, High Profile Scholars of Culture and Anthropology. Archaeologists, Peace and Development Practitioners, Environmentalists, Directors of Museums from around the world, the subject matter of his lecture was, “Conflict Analysis and Peace-building; Embracing the Cultural Heritage of Eastern Africa”.  The importance of the cultural heritage of Africa as a vital resource should never be underestimated in any peacebuilding process in Africa, regardless of the size or nature of the conflict environment!

In October, the presentation in the University of Texas, in Austin was a very significant event, addressing the topic of “Achieving Peace and Reconciliation in Eastern Africa”.  The Shalom methodology was very positively responded to by the former Vice President of the World Bank, and present CEO of Development of Gateway, Jean Louis Sarbib, and by Assistant Professor Susanna Campbell, from the School of International Service, American University. The occasion was attended by a large variety of faculty members and students from various academic disciplines and departments as well as peacebuilding practitioners from around the USA and some Irish! In the same week a lecture given to a wonderful group of students studying social issues of peace and conflict at the University of Houston, Texas addressed the subject matter of,“ Effective Conflict Transformation Methods in Africa; The Shalom (SCCRR) Experience”. 

The Late Lieutenant General Dermot Earley and Fr. Patrick Devine, Ph.D

In November 2017, it was indeed a great honour, personally and for Shalom, to be invited to give the prestigious fourth annual ‘Lieutenant General Dermot Early Lecture’ on the theme ” Peace, Security and Sustainable Development in Eastern Africa” at the National University of Ireland, Maynooth, co-hosted by Irish Defence Forces in conjunction with the Edward M. Kennedy Institute for Conflict Intervention. 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, and address the refugee crisis; religion and conflict; successful approaches to peacebuilding. This was informed by the Shalom’s experiences and steadfast commitment to holistic human security in the greater Africa Region.

In Kenya, SCCRR personnel continue lecture at various University level colleges, such as the M.A 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.  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 The Queens University Belfast, AMECEA (Association of Member Episcopal Conferences in Eastern Africa), Trócaire,  and the Society of African Missions (SMA) will continue to be the basis for progressive interactions and conflict intervention initiatives.

The living generic meaning of ‘Shalom’, and its cognates Salaam, Salem, Salamu, centres on Peace, Justice and Reconciliation holistically integrated.  As a process ‘Shalom’ is about leading to 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’s wholeness.

Already in 2018 we are building and expanding on the input and achievements of SCCRR in past years. Let’s move forward together with a convictional unity of purpose. SCCRR’s vision believes in adhering to the right long term policies in our approach to conflict resolution and reconciliation, resisting to settle for a quick fix or the transient gains of short term insular politics. Many people and communities 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, led by Esther Kibe M.A, continues to make public and transparent the results achieved, processes engaged, lessons learned and needs going forward: www.shalomconflictcenter.org. 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.  Our appreciation extends to our finance department and auditor for their professionalism. May the blessings of peace be experienced by all who are involved in the vision, mission, fruits and goodwill of SCCRR.  In thanking our donors, those who offer prayer and well-wishers, let me assure all that SCCRR will be diligent in continuing to strive to achieve its objectives to the highest standards in the year ahead. Both the people we work among and our donors deserve our abundant fidelity. We should always remember the wise words; ‘all that is needed for evil to triumph is for good people to do nothing’.

                                                                             SHALOM, SALAAM, SALAMU, SALEM,

Yours Sincerely,

Fr. Patrick. Devine, Ph.D,

SCCRR Executive Chairman, Kenya, Africa.

SHALOM-SCCRR (Africa.-Registered in Kenya) Board of Directors and Location.

Rev. Dr Patrick Devine, MA, BA, B.D, Dip Mission Studies, Chairman (Kenya)

Ms. Rosaline Serem MBA., BA, Board Member, (Kenya)

Dr. Michael Comerford, MA, BD, BA, Board Member (South Sudan)

Prof. Robert Mudida PhD, MSC, MA, BD, Board Member (Kenya)

Rev. Janus Machota, BA, BD, Board Member, (Tanzania)

Mr. Sean White, MSC, BA, Board Member, (Kenya)

Team-East Africa:

Rev. Oliver Noonan MA, BD, Dip M.S, CRF, Country Director

Dr. Peterlinus Ouma, MA, BA, Deputy Country Director

Mr. Mr. Godfrey Okoth MA, BA, Program Manager

Mrs. Joyce Wamae MA, BA, Assistant Program Manager

Mr. Paulson Erot, MA, BA, Assistant Program Manager

Prof. Wanakayi Omoka PhD, MA, BA, Director of Research

Mr. Francis Mwangi MA, BA, M&E Officer

Mrs. Judith Akedi-Linus MA, BA, Program Officer

Mr. Austin Ngacha, MA, BA, Program Officer – Peace Educational Projects.

Mr. Arthur Magero, MA, BA, Program Assistant,

Ms. Esther Kibe, MA, BA, Program Assistant

Mr. Jude Ilo, MA, BA, Program Assistant, (Nigeria)

Mr. Duncan Akhobe, CPA, Accountant

Mr. Cyprian Nyakundi, BA, MA Candidate, Intern

Ms. Asha Said Awed, BA, MA Candidate, Intern.

Mr. Ken Otieno, Transport /Logistics Coordinator, Further Studies,

International Volunteer Consultants and background experience

Ms. Matilda Brolin, LLM.                    (Harvard Law School, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Sweden)

Ms. Sheena McMullen, MA, BA,         (Peace and Reconciliation Studies, N. Ireland and Kenya)

Ms. Fabiana Pardi Otamendi, LLM      (Harvard Law School, UN Human Rights, Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, France)

Dr. Conrad Bosire, MA                         (Constitutionalism and Devolution, Kenya, East Africa)

Rev. Dr. Michael McCabe, BA, BD      (SMA, Ireland; Interreligious Dia-Praxis)

Rev. Michel Savadogo, MA, BA, BD    (Shalom Branch, Cote D’Ivoire, West Africa)

www.shalomconflictcenter.org

 

 

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