The 2007/8 post-election violence saw the deaths of 1,133 persons and displaced more than 600,000 persons. While 300,000 were able to return to their residences or to integrate, there continues to remain IDPs who do not have a durable solution. Since multi-party elections in 1992, displacement has been commonplace during general election periods. Tensions and displacements persist even outside of the general elections. Post-conflict peace-building initiatives are therefore necessary to meet the human needs for justice and reconciliation and to prevent the reoccurrence of conflict and to address the protection concerns of persons who continue to remain displaced (IDPs).
As RCK recognizes the need for a coherent, integrated and coordinated approach, our peace-building initiatives recognise the need for sustainable peace. To this end, our activities incorporate capacity enhancement on conflict transformation, peace-building and reconciliation with national peace committees, trainings on sexual and gender based violence, open fora or barazas with different demographic groups (elders, women and youth), cohesion activities and income-generating activities. Community leaders from both the IDP and host communities and local administration play a key role as facilitators in these activities.
Peace-building has also been used alongside efforts for reintegration into the community. Though the long-term impact of peace-building is yet to be seen, the immediate effects of these activities include the restitution of property, the building of relationships across ethnicities, the establishment of women’s support groups and the potential establishment of peace clubs in schools. Ministry of State for Special Programmes, December 2011.
It has emerged that the lack of livelihood opportunities for youth played a large part in their participation in the post-election violence. It is important therefore to address the socio-economic concerns of post-conflict populations to ensure that they have a vested interest to sustain peace and stability. One motivation for this is to empower them economically and RCK has effected this through activities that include tree planting and knitting. RCK also encourages the youth to take advantage of existing structures such as their local community development funds to improve their capacity for finding livelihoods.
Ministry of State for Special Programmes, December 2011.
Peace barazas are intended to help communities to understand the reasons for conflict and to provide a platform in which they can participate in charting a way forward to prevent future conflict and violence. The meetings allow for the building of relationships and trust among the various communities and leaders from the IDP and host community who are trained by RCK and facilitate these forums. Religious and local administration are invited to participate.
Activities that integrate the youth are essential in promoting peace. Sports activities make possible this cross-cultural exchange as youth teams are facilitated to travel to different regions to interact and participate in sports tournaments. The playing teams have representatives from each community. During these tournaments, talks on peaceful co-existence are conducted by the village elders, community representatives and district peace committees. A Voluntary Counselling and Testing (VCT) mobile centre is set up for the youth and other community members during these tournaments. The interaction intends to demystify ethnicity and promote co-operation between the communities.
Women from different communities form knitting groups where they discuss peace related issues – the problems they face, why there is conflict, their role in the conflict and the way forward. These groups also help to restore relationships that were broken.
Trainings are important to reduce the occurrence of Sexual and Gender Based Violence (SGBV), drug abuse and the perpetuation of ethnic hostilities. RCK conducts SGBV awareness, child sexual abuse and drug abuse awareness and discussions on the demystification of ethnicity.The trainings are intended to empower the community to protect themselves better and to promote conflict resolution and peaceful coexistence.