KENYA: BUILDING PEACE BY FOSTERING NEW LOCAL ORGANIZATIONS
Kenya's December 2007 presidential election set off devastating violence, largely waged between the Kikuyu, Kalenjin, and Luo ethnic groups. Over 1,000 died and hundreds of thousands were displaced from their homes and communities. Inter-ethnic marriages and friendships dissolved as interaction between the area's ancient tribes seemed impossible in the face of simmering anger and mistrust.
Identifying women as organized and visible leaders in a Kenyan push for peace and reconciliation, OTI partnered early on with Rural Women Peace Link (RWPL), a group which focused on the causes, rather than the consequences, of the violence. With only a small grant of $9,000 from OTI, RWPL organized dialogue forums for 200 youth and elders from disparate ethic groups to discuss the ramifications of the conflict and identify follow-up activities to stabilize the region. These forums highlighted youth as critical custodians of community justice and peace-building systems. From this initial activity, youth who took that philosophy to heart developed the Wareng Youth for Peace and Development Initiative.
Working closely with Wareng Youth Initiative's Chairman Fred Yego and 75 members, OTI delivered a follow-on, in-kind grant of office equipment to set up operations and launch peace-building efforts around the region. The RWPL agreed to serve as an advisor to the new organization while the Kenyan government provided office space for the Wareng group.
"Incubating a new community-based organization in partnership with both the local government and a more established local orgniazation illustrates one way OTI builds sustainability into its activities," said Yego.
With USAID's support, Wareng has ensured that the youth networks under its umbrella organization build a critical mass of people who can motivate youth to say no to violence and yes to inter-ethnic tolerance. The groups under Wareng supported non-violent elections in 2013, contributing to a more peaceful electoral outcome.