ACORD has been working in Kenya since 2005 in response to the chronic droughts faced by pastoralist communities along the Kenya and Tanzania border and recently the northern regions of Marsabit and Mandera. In the Western part of Kenya, the Community Social Peace and Reconciliation Methodology (CSPR) was applied in response to the post-election violence with a view to supporting peace consolidation and community reconciliation.
This also involves strengthening capacity of small-scale farmer and pastoralist organisations to engage in processes around the Comprehensive African Agricultural Development Programme (CAADP) and the Pastoralist Policy Framework of the African Union, agricultural plicy literacy and advocacy.
>> Gender and Women's Rights: Seeking to develop a sustained behaviour change and appropriate community responses to end impunity for sexual crimes and gender based violence, ACORD is aiming to economically empower women survivors. A multi-stakeholder learning group and stronger partnership are key elements for addressing the issues of sexual violence more effectively.
>> Peacebuilding: ACORD's CSPR methodology aimed at generating leadership for sustainable peace and recovery among divided communities focuses on building the capacities of the communities themselves in conflict resolution and strengthening the local mitigation mechanisms to avoid escalation of conflicts. This approach is rooted in dialogue between the divided parties to facilitate truth, healing, forgiveness and reconciliation in order to promote understanding and facilitate the formulation of an agreement on the modalities for long-term peaceful coexistence and non-violent alternatives to conflict.
Communities in Sotik and Borabu have benefited from the methodology that contributed to recovery needs of post election violence victims as well as translate the National Peace Accord into practice at the community level. Recently, communities from the Bukusu, Sabaot and Teso from western Kenya also signed a social peace agreement and committed themselves to peaceful coexistence.
Enhancing women participation in the decision making and electoral process
ACORD, Kenya Programme in partnership with UN Women, WIFIP and other CSOs Network have been working with women political aspirants in Kenya with a focus in Kisumu and Migori since January 2012. The initiative has been geared towards encouraging women to actively participate in leadership, in specific having women vie for legislative and governance positions through the electoral process. Through mentoring and training women were supported to gain better understanding of the political landscape in which they operate.
ACORD Kenya also organized a learning tour to Rwanda for the women aimed at enhancing their participation in conflict prevention and peace building. The women in the programme benefited from the powerful lessons of their women counterparts in Rwanda. Testimonies and stories following the 1994 genocide were prominent during their discussion. The tour was an attempt by ACORD to underscore the need for lasting peace for the exercise of sustainable leadership and power.
Achieving the program outcomes has had its challenges, however great strides have been made through a combination of strategies and initiatives. For example ensuring that women themselves are confident in their ability to lead has helped increase their self esteem, secondly, preparing constituents (voters) to receive women and view them as competent to represent their interests, Civic education centered on the benefits of the new constitution was a critical tool in this process. Following the recent primary process we now have seven women on the March 4th ballot despite the challenges with the primaries.
As part of the programs key outcomes, civic education on violence against women aspirants formed a key component of the discussions that were held by ACORD and partners with communities. Community members were challenged to commit to working and protecting women vying for leadership positions as a way of minimizing incidents of harassment and intimidation. The net result has been a much more conducive atmosphere for women aspirants with adequate community support and protection during the process to exercise their democratic rights as they saw fit.
Much progress is evident in regards to women representation in Kenya as the new constitution provides room for their participation in legislation and governance; according to article 100 of the new constitution parliament shall formulate laws to promote the representation of women, persons with disabilities, ethnic and other minorities and marginalized communities. Additionally article 27 (3) ensures that women and men will have the right to equal treatment and opportunities in political, economic, cultural and social spheres without discrimination. ACORD and it partners hope that the nominated women will go through and be part of the elective civil servants. For those women who were not nominated, the team has gone ahead to ensure they are supported to seek alternative strategic position within the new systems and structures that will aid in the governance of counties.
Increasing women's influence in governance and politics
ACORD in Kenya conducts Civic and Voter Education as well as Peace Building Education - read more on our training for empowering women leaders - and has built a strong partnership with several UN organisations to empower women to vie for leadership positions, as one of the key strategies to effect change towards gender equality and women's rights in the country. The Kenya Government and UN Joint Programme for Gender Equality and Women's Empowerment (JP GEWE) was initiated in 2009 and aims to combine strengths and resources of all stakeholders (government, UN, civil society organisations, donors and private sector) so that they "deliver as one" rather than in isolation. Read the JP GEWE`s 2012 report.
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Communities in Kenya tell their stories
The post election violence and the resulting insecurity were a real threat for women because women and children are the most vulnerable during such conditions where brute force is used. Women are physically weaker and find it difficult to defend themselves. We also have small children whom we have to take care of, by struggling to flee together. During the skirmishes, our house was burnt at Memisi and we were forced to flee. We lived at a nearby police camp for a while before we could access relatives' homes on the other side who offered us shelter. Everything was destroyed; we were left destitute and helpless. We were also unable to make use of our farms during much of the period due to the insecurity (January to March planting season) as well as fear of being raped by marauding gangs.
Monica Wanjou was able to receive fertilizers and maize seeds from ACORD working closely with Cereal Growers Association.
Our partners in Kenya
In Kajiado District, the water provision and access project has been implemented and designed in close cooperation with the indigenous local organisation, Neighbours Initiative Alliance (NIA) and the Kilonito community. ACORD is also working closely through its networking and partnership development with Women in Fishing Industry Programme (WIFIP), the CSO Network, Agricultural Rural Development Programme (ARDP) and the Catholic Diocese of Nakuru.
Photos, videos and publications
Community voices (DVD, 2010).
Join the people from the communities of Sotik and Borabu as they work through a peace-building process over a year following the outbreak of violence during disputed national elections in Kenya.
Training Small-Scale Farmers in Kenya (DVD, 2010).
A short film showing practical learning activities during training of trainers on effective agricultural practices. The training targeted small-scale farmers and pastoralists who benefitted from skills on how to promote effective agricultural practices.
english and swahili
Violence against Women in Africa: an Imported Agenda or a Hidden Reality? - Reflections from University Students in Kenya (2010).
A compilation of essays written by students in Kenya on the issue of violence against women and girls.
Pursuing justice for sexual and gender based violence in Kenya: summary of reparations options. Report on options for improving the legal system for responding to sexual and gender-based violence in DRC, in particular on establishing compensation mechanisms for survivors.
Making the law count: Kenya: an audit of legal practice on sexual violence (report, 2009).
A review of legal practice on sexual violence in Kenya, looking at: what national laws deal with sexual violence; how judges and other court officials interpret the law; police attitude to sexual violence; role of health institutions. The review also makes recommendations for civil society advocacy to improve the response to sexual violence.
Community Peace Recovery and Reconciliation: A Handbook for Generating Leadership for Sustainable Peace and Recovery among Divided Communities (2011). The approach is rooted in dialogue to facilitate truth, healing, forgiveness and reconciliation in order to promote understanding and facilitate the formulation of an agreement on the modalities for peaceful coexistence and non-violent alternatives to conflict.
You can also find more resources on ACORD's work in Kenya on our website.
Photos of ACORD's work in Kenya can be sent upon request. Contact us by e-mail.
How you can support communities in Kenya
Financial donations and in-kind support to ACORD's work in Kenya go a long way in providing support to pastoralist communities along the Kenya-Tanzania border, strengthening civil society and promoting peace and reconciliation. These act as crucial capacity building factors for successful implementation of our projects. Commitments and ownership by communities themselves to sustain their own facilities ensures that our programmes have a lasting impact on their livelihoods and their development.
Make a donation now! For more information on our work in Kenya please sign up to our newsletter, visit your nearest ACORD office or call us.