This project focuses on mobilizing men, women, youth and children across ethnic, religious, political and economic backgrounds to become active peace agents in their communities. For over 12 years, the organization has been involved in peace building missions primarily in Kariobangi and Mathare. The institution has established peace clubs in over 30 schools. This has had positive impact in the schools as well as the community at large; there has been reduced crime rates and ethnic discrimination.
From an internal research that was conducted, the core problem identified in various stakeholders meetings in both Kariobangi and Mathare slum areas where the youth and local leaders were engaged showed that “Over 4,000 young people in Kariobangi and Mathare are unemployed”. This has largely contributed to many turning to crime, alcoholism, drug abuse, peer influence, school dropouts and the use of illegal fire arms.
It is for this reason that Caritas Nairobi in partnership with Catholic relief services designed a project namely ‘Peace Building Project’.
Core problem- “Over 4,000 young people in Holy Trinity Kariobangi and Mathare are unemployed and are key drivers of violence and insecurity in the informal settlements”
Goal: Communities in Kariobangi and Mathare have sustained security and peace
Strategic Objective:Communities in Mathare and Kariobangi have reduced incidence of violence in their neighbourhoods.
- Conflicting ethnic communities resolve their conflicts using non-violent means
- Targeted peace groups have adopted sustainable income generation and management practices.
- Targeted children & youth groups advocate against drug and substance abuse in their communities.
The project aims at reducing insecurity and violence within the jurisdictions of St. Teresa (Mathare) and Holy Trinity (Kariobangi) parishes serving urban informal settlement communities.
Proud advances to a peaceful community over the years
11 community-based talents youth groups comprising of 250 youths were supported to reduce their vulnerability from violence and insecurity. Individual youths were identified and mobilized to form community-based talent groups and counselled to divert energy from idleness and vulnerability to political manipulations, militia groupings, and peer influence into crime and drug and substance abuse addictions. The groups were thereafter linked to tap loans and economic skills enhancement from the government Youth Enterprise Fund. The project further accompanied the youths in an integrated conflict resolution sensitization; provision of alternative livelihood tools of trade trophiesthrough the win-win talents’ competitions; and entrepreneurial business plans development that empowered them to repay and tap other government loans from the Youth Fund. This way the project contributed to the reduction of youths’ vulnerability to political violence in the two hotspots of recurrent electoral violence especially as Kenya gears towards the 2017 General Elections.
13 schools peace clubs comprising of 980 children held approximately312 weekly forums in which patrons used the Caritas Nairobi Peacebuilding Manual to facilitate children to enhance a culture of peace in schools, their families and schools communities. The children participated in two parish level win-win competitions winning trophies (13water tanks) and stationery for their schools. During the school weekly forums children were also equipped with active non-violence skills to advocate against drug and substance abuse in their schools, families and neighbouring communities. They used songs, dance, poems, skits to sensitize their school peers and community members against the vice.
The Kariobangi Differently Abled Persons group comprising of 23members identified in the previous phase was sensitized in non-violent advocacy for their rights, conflict resolution methodologies and linked with the government UWEZO Fund that enabled them to tap into government development loans for their small scale businesses and self-development initiatives. The group held ten monthly forums to discuss matters related to their group peace and security in the community. The group recognized that in instances of violence and insecurity persons with disability and most vulnerable to displacement, deaths and sexual exploitations.
18 Mathare Women Peace-Connect community-based group was sensitized on active non-violence and anti-drug and substance abuse. In turn the women sensitized their cosmopolitan multi-ethnic and religious Mathare Valley communities in peaceful co-existence. They also developed their entrepreneurial creative art business plans that increased their economic empowerment. The economic empowerment enabled the group to start a small day-care center for young mothers as they fend for their families. The women group played a key role in the identification, mobilization and rehabilitation of 26 victims of drug and substance abuse supported by Caritas Nairobi in liaison with the National Authority for the Campaign against Alcohol and Drug Abuse (NACADA) after the nationwide crackdown on elicit brew. The group also innovatively mobilized Mathare Valley young women vulnerable to drug, substance abuse and sexual exploitation to a Miss Mathare Beauty Pageant using items (clothes, hand-bags, belts, shawls) donated during the 2015 International Women’s Day CRS celebrations. The beauty pageant attracted a crowd of approximately 200 community members who were also sensitized on peaceful co-existence and anti-drug and substance abuse usage.