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

SHALOM (SCCRR) DEVELOPMENT PROJECTS: 2017 UPDATE

Introduction

Throughout 2017 SCCRR Educational Projects Team has implemented peace and development projects in extremely remote rural conflict areas of Northern Kenya and South Sudan.  The difficult terrain we cover requires extensive logistical planning and security concerns for the team and the delivery of materials.  The vast distances where the school projects are implemented are predominantly in areas close to the interface borders of Kenya, Somalia, South Sudan, Uganda and Ethiopia, as well in the impoverished urban settlement close to Nairobi.  The geographical area covered by SCCRR educational programmes is approximately the size of Ireland and the UK combined.

As a result of perennial interethnic conflict occurring in Northern Kenya and South Sudan, coupled with prevailing poverty, many educational infrastructures have been destroyed or neglected for severely marginalized communities.  In response to this scenario, SCCRR intervenes to provide building materials, solar energy, desks and chairs, teachers’ furniture, textbooks and various other learning aids as part of the promotion of inter-ethnic schools in the conflict zones where we carry out persistent peace building initiatives.

The schools projects for implementation are decided upon through dialogue between the SHALOM administration and the community’s key influential opinion shapers and workshop participants who attend SHALOM’s conflict transformation empowerment training processes.  This identifies the most needed resources to be supplied to the communities and is integral to the peace building process as the conflicting communities develop consensus on distribution of educational infrastructure and resources.  It is important to note that Shalom helps communities who are willing and active in helping themselves. The communities are generally responsible for the supply of labour, water, stones and the building site. In the picture to the left, school desks are arriving at Morijo Primary School in northern Kenya.

Through the continued support from our donors, we have been able to develop and assist 23 schools in 2017.  An additional 16 school projects and supplies are in process and will be completed by the end of the year.  Nine educational institutes have been supplied with solar lighting systems out of which 6 primary schools and 1 university are in South Sudan; additionally 3 new classrooms and 1 dormitory are under construction.  Other examples are the delivery by SCCRR of 87 desks to a primary school in Marsabit and a total of 250 sets of lockers and chairs to schools in West Pokot, Marsabit and Samburu Counties.  To retain students in school at night and reach shepherd students, SCCRR supported 2 schools in West Pokot County with 120 double decker beds and 50 mattresses.  In order to improve academic performance, 4 schools received a large consignment of assorted text books and laboratory equipment.  In all Shalom has provided assistance to over 17,250 students in the conflict environment while a number of schools have developed due to the direct initiatives of Shalom between former conflictual communities.

 

Some New Highlighted Projects being empowered by Shalom

Turkwel Mixed Secondary School has a growing student population of 157 students and is in West Pokot.  The student population of Pokots and Turkanas come from an area which has traditionally being identified with terrible conflict between the two tribes.  The School boarding facility was in poor state; student shared mattresses and slept on the floor.  SCCRR donated 70 double decker beds which will hold a capacity of 140 students.

 

Before SCCRR Intervention 

 

                                                  After SCCRR Intervention

  

St Stephen High School has an expanding student population of 120 students – 38 girls and 78 boys. The school lacked laboratory equipment to facilitate practical experiments in physics, chemistry and biology.  SCCRR donated laboratory equipment.

Reminder of SHALOM Peace-Building Program Activities which are vital for sustainable development. 

 

So far in 2017, Shalom has led over 65 workshops in Kenya many which addressed the issues of election preparedness and prevention of violence which are still on-going.  Our project target areas are Turkana, Samburu, Marsabit, West Pokot, Tana River, Nakuru, Naivasha and Nairobi slum environments.  

In these workshops, participants were equipped with knowledge and skills in:

  • Conflict Mapping
  • Conflict Analysis Frameworks
  • Conflict Early Warning and Early Response
  • Negotiation Skills and Techniques
  • Conflict Transformation Processes
  • Integrative Problem Solving Workshops
  • Election Preparedness

Through our partnership with these communities, a positive framework for community dialogue and sustainable peaceful co-existence has been established.  Furthermore, sixteen groups of peace monitors have also emerged, comprised of selected influential community representatives whose key role is to monitor the early warning signs of conflict and take positive action to prevent and manage it.  These monitors are also regularly organizing and meeting across inter-ethnic boundaries in order to foster trust and build relationships amongst traditionally adversarial communities. Pictured left is the Turkana and Samburu communities during their training outside a solarized school.

We are focusing our attention on the factors that threaten to ignite hostilities between communities.

We are partnering with these groups in order to address:

  1. The structural causes of violence such as poverty, inequality, exclusion and discrimination
  2. Proximate causes of conflict such as corruption and crime
  3. Trigger causes of violence which can often be single incidents that spark a community-based reaction

We are committed to a journey with these communities so that they develop the necessary skills and strategies to adequately manage the challenges they face. A sense of ownership in the peacebuilding process is vital to its sustainability and success.  SHALOM’s role is one of training, empowerment, and walking side by side with the communities as the take ownership of the conflict transformation and peace building action plans in terms of problem solving and sustainable development project. While the communities and administration of SHALOM are involved daily in this work, our supporters worldwide are involved in every step of this process.

 

Rosaline Serem (SCCRR) MBA

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