NAIROBI, KENYA, July 24, 2017—Recently, Professor Kagwanja, Chief Executive of the Africa Policy Institute, called on the government to invest in training and equipping the police in non-violent methods to de-escalate crises and counter extremism without violating human rights. Based on our experiences in Kenya, Mediators Beyond Borders International (MBBI) offers our whole-hearted support to this recommendation.
The current situation in Kenya, people suffering from inter-ethnic and resource-scarcity-based violence, remains a key challenge for marginalised pastoralist communities. The good news from the counties, is that the government agencies and non-governmental organizations are working with pastoralist communities to help them develop genuine lines of communication among communities and between communities and security forces. This is making a difference. We know from experience these bridges and relationships are essential to restore peace.
Community Dialoguing and other peace-keeping activities have been undervalued and lack infrastructure support that could create a more impactful and wider programme to save the lives of citizens and security forces.
We have seen clear evidence that training and relationship building can avert potential violent conflict through early warning interventions and cross-community networking. MBBI grassroots Peace Guardians have donated endless hours to assist communities to find space for peace in their hearts through their actions, despite other influences inciting violence.
MBBI believes that embedding peace in communities requires a number of strategic interventions: the continued outreach and coaching offered by existing MBBI Peace Guardians; the amplification of pastoralist voices at all levels; the engagement of politicians, security forces and the media to assist them to understand their often complex influences on the lives of pastoralists; training security forces in humane and non-violent responses, and relationship building on all levels. This process takes time, travel to the remote communities, training, and funding. Government agencies like the National Cohesion and Integration Commission (NCIC), Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) and the National Steering Committee on Peace and Conflict Management (NSC) – working together with NGOs and the private sector– can meet the challenges faced by Kenyan communities.
We urge the government to mobilise, invest and support peacebuilding as one of the key priorities for Kenya’s sustained economic and social development strategy.
Mediators Beyond Borders International comprises a group of mediators who are united in their desire and commitment to create a more peace-able world. Using the combined experience and insights of our multi-national teams, we work worldwide to assist communities and governments to build stable, peaceful societies.
For further information, write to Dorina Prech, MBBI KI Team Member at firstname.lastname@example.org or call her at +254 723 923 178.