AGLI Supported Quaker Peacemaking - Kenya
David Zarembka, AGLI Coordinator
AVP to Kenya in 2003, both in Nairobi and western Kenya. At that point,
Kenyan Quakers were not particularly interested in learning
about AVP because many, like most Kenyans, thought Kenya was a peaceful
country different from many of its neighbors.
with the help of a number of lead American AVP facilitators, AVP was
in the country. In 2007, AGLI did a “teaser” HROC workshop
to see if Kenyans would be interested for AGLI to bring the program from
Rwanda and Burundi. The answer was in the affirmative and AGLI planned
for the initial workshops in January 2008. Alas, the 2008 post-election
violence interfered and it wasn’t until the summer that the first
HROC training was held.
During 2008, through a local non-profit organization, Friends for Peace
and Community Development, AGLI supported 151 AVP workshops for 3400
participants, a two-week HROC facilitator training and 14 basic HROC workshops
for 362 participants, and 58 one-day listening sessions for 1216 participants
including 43 listening sessions with the US Center for Disease Control staff
time, Kenyan Quakers had formed Friends Church Peace Teams (FCPT) and
became very interested in AVP, HROC, and other peacemaking activities.
AGLI worked with them in hard-hit Turbo Division near where I live. After
FCPT initially provided some humanitarian relief to those missed
the Red Cross,
peace teams from FCPT did listening sessions with both sides in the conflict,
escorted the internally displaced persons when they returned to their homes,
and later did a survey which indicated that, while calm had returned, both
sides were fearful of renewed violence.
including Change Agents for Peace, International, in Nairobi (a program
mostly supported by
Norwegian Quakers), the Uzima (Wellness)
Foundation founded to promote healthy living among youth, Friends Theological
and some Quaker churches were also very involved in peacemaking work
in Nairobi and western Kenya. For the December 27, 2007 election and
referendum on the Kenyan constitution, all Quaker groups joined together
in the Quaker Peace Network to do election observing.
It is important
that Quakers involve themselves in the prevention of election violence
in the next Kenyan election in 2012. Consequently,
in 2010 FCPT
formed the Turbo Division Interfaith Peace Task Force (TDIPTF) in the
area where they
had done their work in 2008. In order to increase the visibility of
peacemaking work, FCPT and FDIPTF organized a peace parades and celebrations
Division on World Peace Day. September 21, in both 2010 and 2011
Starting in 2011, AGLI has supported two programs in western Kenya.
The first is a major AVP project with youth from Turbo Division. Six
people under 35 years of age) in each of the seven locations of Turbo
been trained as AVP facilitators. They, in turn, with the help of a
lead AVP facilitator, have conducted four basic AVP workshops in each
were so successfully received that in six of the seven locations, the
youth AVP facilitators have organized what they have called “voluntary
the participants and well-wishers supply the food, venue, and facilitator
accommodations so that a three-day workshop for twenty to thirty youth
was costing less than
$50. To date over sixty AVP workshops for more than 1600 youth in this
division have been completed.
As the next
election nears, these AVP youth facilitators will develop
a voter sensitization seminar which they will conduct with other
Twenty youth in each location will be trained as citizen reporters
who will observe the whole election cycle from the enrollment of
voters, the campaign
period, election-day itself, and the post-election period. They will
send text messages about events in their community to a Call-In Center
new cyber-program called FrontlineSMS.
other project is to conduct HROC workshops on the slopes of Mt. Elgon
where a land
dispute between two clans of the Sabaot led to the death
of up to 600 people and the displacement of more than 100,000 people
from 2006 to 2008. With the up-coming election, tensions in the
area hit by this violence
are rising again. The HROC program is healing the personal wounds
from this violence and rebuilding the relationships between the
groups that were involved
in this violence.
one of a number of local and international organizations doing peacemaking
in Kenya. Others include Change Agents
Friends for Peace and Community Development, Friends Theological
College, Quaker Peace Network, Quaker Peace and Social Witness,
There is more than enough for these organizations to do as the
challenge is immense.