Funded by USAID, Kenya Tuna Uwezo ("We Have the Power" in Kiswahili) aims to reduce politically-motivated conflict, interethnic violence and sectarian violence in the informal settlements in Nairobi. Working with local partners, PeaceNet and Kituo Cha Sheria, the program is engaging residents, especially young people, to engage in dialogue, air grievances and work toward common resolutions. Learn more about Kenya Tuna Uwezo and its impact on the lives of community residents in the video, articles and issue paper below:
Nairobi's slums are still anxious about the outcome of Monday's elections. Here's what's wrong with Kenya's elections and how we can fix them. As my fellow Kenyans and I anxiously await election results amid hopes that the current calm prevails, the world is watching and waiting to see what emerges, and how that will shape the direction of our country for years to come. Read full article.
In a dim, mud-walled hall in a Nairobi slum, about 50 people from the local community have come to meet their new chief; a demure, petite lady in a white jacket with black piping. Around the edges of the room, young men, some wearing caps at rakish angles, stand silently. These are the men Selline Korir, a peace activist, has come to see. But first Korir, 49, who works for non-profit Global Communities, will speak to the audience. Read full article.
All eyes are on Kenya in today's general election -- the first since 2007 when contested results caused an eruption of violence that led to the deaths of over a thousand people and the displacement of hundreds of thousands more. Since then, a new constitution has been created, providing a platform for free and fair elections and putting safeguards in place to prevent the kind of violence that was seen in 2007, which was largely politically motivated and ethnic in nature. As part of the broader effort in Kenya to mitigate and prevent this kind of violence, Global Communities is implementing the United States Agency for International Development-funded Kenya Tuna Uwezo (KTU) program, which means "We Have the Power" in Kiswahili. The program focuses on the informal settlements of Nairobi, where Kenya's most vulnerable citizens are easy targets for political manipulation and where ethnic violence is common. Read full article.
Judith Okongo, 28, is from the informal settlement of Kiambiu and experienced violence first-hand after the 2007 election. “The people of Global Communities came to us because they heard there was war in Kiambiu. I am a Luo and we were fighting with the Kikuyu. We were angry because our votes had been taken away. I had a business by the side of the road, and during the fighting it was burned to the ground. I had a small baby, only three months old, who was inside when they burned it. He died there.” After Judith lost her business and her child, she joined in on the fighting with full force. “I was in the front lines of the women fighting. I was a very bad woman and a leader. People knew me and would do what I say out of fear.” Read full article.
Dan Orogo is a 24-year-old political science student at the University of Nairobi. Having grown up in the informal settlement of Kibera, he was deeply affected by the conflict in his community that occurred after the 2007-08 elections and early on found his purpose in life: spreading the message of peace to young people. According to Dan, “The work that I do in the community is getting the right information to young people about leadership and how to engage themselves in political platforms.” Read full article.
In the informal settlement of Korogocho, Nairobi, crime is a way of life for too many young people. Poverty has pushed many youths to join gangs or be used by powerful people to perform acts of violence against others. Because many youths lack positive role models, criminals become their role models. As one youth from Korogocho said, “In Koch kila kijana ni jambazi na role models wale wako ni majambazi. Wanaishi vipoa na kuvaa vi-expensive juu ya zile doo wanapata kutokana na ujambazi!” [“In Korogocho, every youth is a criminal and the only role models we have are the criminals who live the good life and dressing expensively with the money they get from crime!”] Youth enter the life of crime in their early teens starting out with petty crime with simple weapons and move from there onto larger acts with more sophisticated weapons. It is a harsh and often short life. Read full article.
The Kiambiu informal settlement located in Nairobi, Kenya has a long history of violent conflict. Traditionally, the source of the conflict was housing ownership and these tensions were reinforced and exploited by warring gangs. However, the conflict turned tribal and political when post-election violence spread through Nairobi in 2007 and 2008. Kiambui bore the brunt of this violence, and since then its residents have divided themselves emotionally and physically among ethnic and party lines. Unfortunately, much of the violence and criminal activity that takes place is carried out by the youth of Kiambiu. This creates deep mistrust between the provincial administration and these youth. Mistrust also exists among youth of various ethnic and political affiliations which feeds into the conflict within Kiambiu as a whole. Read full article.
It has been estimated that sectarian, political and ethnic conflicts lead directly to more than 55,000 deaths per year. Beyond this immediate effect, the psychosocial, developmental and economic effects of these conflicts have a huge international impact, as instability in one area spills into another, most recently witnessed on a cross-regional scale in Mali. While conflict is often incited by outsiders or more powerful individuals or groups, it is the communities that suffer most. Sustainable conflict resolution requires complementary efforts such as government-led initiatives, strengthened security, economic development and much more. The focus of this paper is specifically the role of communities in conflict resolution – working at the grassroots level to bring communities together to resolve the sources of conflict and develop cooperation that leads to peace and stability. Read the full paper here.