CONSENSUS BUILDING AND RECONCILIATION IN POST-ELECTORAL PHASE: YOUTH AND CHILDREN PARTICIPATION IN PEACE DEVELOPMENT IN THE COUNTY

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Earth Charter Training
The project supported production of 1000 copies of the Earth Charter Declaration, where approximately 2000 school children and parents were trained on the holistic guidelines of the Earth Charter, and Wangari Maathai’s Three Legged Stole principles of sustainable development. These educational trainings were held at the Mosop Secondary School, the Lumdiarc Primary School, the Ewaat Primary School and the Bahati Girls Secondary School. 192 teachers representing primary and secondary schools were also trained on the utilization of the Earth Charter Declaration as a learning tool. This took place during the planning meetings for the Children’s Peace Festival in February 2014. At the entrepreneurship training workshops 202 youth participants were also trained on the Earth Charter in June 2014.

June, 2014: GBM Coordinator Judy Kimamo leads an Earth Charter learning session for children. Photo:GBM

The Children’s Peace Festival 2014
The Green Belt Movement, in partnership with Green Cross Sweden, supported the second annual Children’s Peace Festival – Healing the Earth for Peace and Sustainable Development, through a partnership with the Kenyan Ministry of Education and Schools. In Kenya, the Ministry of Education, who hosts co-curricular activities, has pledged cooperation for the next year. The Children’s Peace Festival, with performing arts, was held on February 28th, and on March 1st, 2014 for the primary schools festival, in Naivasha Town, and during March 6th – 8th, 2014 for the secondary schools festival, in Nakuru Town.

A wonderful moment with the girls from the Lumdiarc Primary School, one of the winners of the Children’s Peace Festival for their Dramatized Dance and theme “Peace and Reconciliation”. Many children in these schools have no shoes. Photo:TM

The goal of the Children’s Peace Festival was for the children to participate in activities of peace building. This goal included tapping and nurturing the creative talents amongst the Kenyan youths and children. The GBM and GCS festival brought forth the theme: Healing the Earth for Peace and Sustainable Development, which was related to Kenya’s Wangari Maathai Day Youth theme Healing the Earth, celebrated on March 3rd 2014. The festival also incorporated the International Women’s Day theme: Inspiring Change. This together motivated the festival in bringing forth Professor Maathai’s message: I am a humming bird.
The Children Peace Festival 2014 was initiated by a capacity building program for the teachers. This educational forum enabled all the participating teachers to fully comprehend the festival themes. They were introduced to principles of the Earth Charter. This was combined with the highlight of Peace Tree planting activities for schools in the region. The teachers’ forum developed a program and a working budget for 2014 children’s festivals.
The workshop was attended by 192 teachers, representing 192 schools in the Nakuru region which included the counties of: Nakuru, Kericho, Uasin Gichu, Narok, Baringo, Nandi and Bomet.

Linking Common Interest Group to meaningful engagement beyond ethnicity at county level
The youth are the most vulnerable group within the Kenyan society, due to many reasons such as: unemployment, substance abuse, a lack of valueless, born into a single parentage, prone to a suicide, and lack of mentorship. In Kenya young persons have been an easy target used by politicians to cause chaos and conflicts. Thus youth empowerment, engagement and capacity building are essential for building a more just, sustainable, and peaceful world.

Oct. 20, 2014: Coaches and boys in the Peace Club and soccer team in Rongai. Photo:TM

In order to deal with one of the root causes of conflicts in Rift Valley (with a vast unemployment and the idleness of the youth), GBM in partnership with Green Cross Sweden, and other local partners: the Regional Peace Forum, and The Youth Speak Out trained 202 youths in Nakuru, on May 17th, 2014. Notably of those trained, over 60% were women, and 40% were men. The aim was to transform these young persons from being job seekers to job creators, whereby promoting the concern for environmental conservation to the younger generation and while utilizing their boundless creativity and innovation. The youth were also trained in the principles of the Earth Charter, where they were encouraged to embrace the idea of taking up initiatives for sustainable development. The young people agreed to organize activities geared towards giving back to the society, and where the group was engaged to clean up areas in Nakuru Town, and at the Police Stations. This initiative included visiting the elderly and sick, as well as engaging in peace forums and dialog for community policing. The youth forums also endorsed the Earth Charter Declaration.

The Kenyan youth fund programme granted 10 of the youth groups soft loans (loans without interest) to help them immediately start businesses after the training. This encouraged even more young people to come up with initiatives and apply for the soft loans. Based on information from the County Director of Youth in Nakuru County, the youth who have been granted the loans have increased by 50%. The forum thanked the Green Belt Movement for the initiative and urged more youth to be included in the training.

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