What is the difference between ethnicity and tribalism? Is lack of employment leading to violence? What is education doing to promote peace? These and other questions were addressed at a workshop for 95 young leaders, District Peace Committees and Peace monitors at Baraka Agricultural Institute, Molo, in Kenya’s Rift Valley.
The workshop on April 11-12, 2012, was part of a peace education initiative in the Rift Valley, a region which experienced the worst ethnic violence following the 2007 presidential elections. New presidential and parliamentary elections are scheduled for March 2013, the first since the passage of Kenya’s new constitution.
The workshop involved facilitators from Brand Kenya, National Cohesion & Integration Commission, Global Peace Youth Corps, GPF and Peace Corps.
Baraka Agricultural College administrator Mr. Naphtali Anunda provided some background on the college, which supports community development by promoting agricultural sustainability and job opportunities. Mr. Edwin Aketch Coordinator of GPF’s Peace and Conflict Management division, told the workshop that Kenyans “need to rise above jealousy, tribalism, religion, race manipulation and nationality. The act of fostering peace and an active no-violence culture as individuals, families, communities, as a nation and beyond the nation, will determine the rise or fall of nations. A culture of peace is different from the politics of peace.”
“Tribalism is the scourge of Africa,” said Peter Kin’gori, GPF Kenya program coordinator. “Unless it is eradicated, much of what we as a nation have achieved over the years will be lost overnight.
Peace Cops the Deputy Programme Coordinator Justus Kimeli pointed out that in order to internalize peace in Rift Valley we must understand the main cause of violence and unrest. “We alone know what bites us most and why we have to fight back,” he said. “Is joblessness really the reason for violence?”
Mr. Popin Misoi, a representative of Kenya Youth Empowerment, concluded that “the lessons we as Kenyans must learn are that we should work fast, follow instructions, be able to work as a team, avoid conflict, promote fun and happiness, get to a peace meeting and do your job as a peace ambassador.”