Kariobangi is an extremely low income residential estate with most people living in less than two dollars a day situated in North Eastern of Nairobi City. It is inhabited by different ethnic communities drawn from most parts of Kenya and It comprises of both modern apartments and slum dwellings, characterized by some open sewers. The existence of diverse ethnic communities who majority reside in the slum and have different socio-economic status, cultural orientations and political inclinations has recurrently led to ethnic conflicts hence making the area to be classified as one of the major conflict hot spots in Nairobi County. In the 2007- 2008 post-election that triggered an explosion of violence in various parts of the country, the youth were mostly used as the ‘vehicles’ of political violence. The same was reciprocated in the 2013 and 2017 but in different variations.
The above background formed the basis for collaboration between Shalom–SCCRR and Caritas-Nairobi hence the progressive involvements with the communities in Kariobangi owing to the great need of addressing the persistent violence manifested in protests, demonstrations, political violence and inter-ethnic attacks in this area. The youth in the area have also had consistent turbulence with police and they claim this is due to weaknesses and malpractices by state institutions , as well as political incitement. Shalom is currently assisting the marginalized and disenfranchised youth who have been viewed as main perpetrators of conflict (primary stakeholders) through a series of peace trainings with the aim of enhancing their peacebuilding knowledge and analytical skills thus giving them the right tools to work with in cultivating and nurturing positive peace within their communities.
The ”hand-shake” between President Uhuru Kenyatta and NASA’s leader Raila Odinga was interpreted by many as a step that would usher in reconciliation in the country asserting the need for the key stakeholders to be involved in this process. On the April 12th, 2018, the SCCRR’s team brought together 30 youth from different youth groups in Kariobangi and trained them on reconciliation. This to the youth was timely following the pro-longed electioneering process that saw the country go through a disputed elections and a repeat poll that led to a lot of resentment and disillusionment among it’s citizens. The youth were, therefore, taught on the different aspects of reconciliation including the process itself and what it entails; stages of reconciliation; different approaches to building peace; and, the connection between reconciliation and democracy. SCCRR’s team emphasized and reinforced Lederach’s model that defines reconciliation as the meeting point of the four key fundamental elements: Truth, Justice, Peace and Mercy.
The main objective of the training was to equip the selected youth groups with competencies to develop analytical skills that enhance reconciliation after the electioneering process and inter-community dialogue leading to peace and social-economic development in Kariobangi. Moreover the training also ushered in the process of healing and reconciliation in a polarized society albeit to negative peace to begin with. However it is a giant step forward in the right direction. The youth in Kariobangi slum, have potential to spearhead the transformation of their communities. However, they are limited because they lack peacebuilding skills due to their socio-economic environment they reside in. They, therefore, need nurturing in this area in order to free them from bondage of being used as vehicles and perpetrators of violence in their communities. The training activities are envisioned to impact the youth both at personal and community levels. The positive change will prevent the youth from engaging in the historic episodes of violence and the abundant negative impacts of conflict that Kenya has witnessed in the past.
Shalom-SCCRR is, therefore, committed to work with communities in Kariobangi in order to enable them be the architects of their own peace and development, now and in the future. Thanks to the generous support from all our donors who have made this process possible.
Author: Asha Awed , B.A., M.A Candidate: Intern