NEW PEACE-BUILDING PROJECTS IN KENYA’S RIFT VALLEY
Green Cross and the Green Belt Movement carried out three new projects in early 2016 as part of their ongoing collaboration in Kenya’s Rift Valley, strengthening community and institutional structures over the long term, enhancing representation, improving equitable access and distribution of resources, and restoring the environment during the transition to devolved government.
Based on Professor Wangari Maathai’s Three Legged Stool concept and in partnership with different organizations, Green Cross Sweden has been working with local communities in the Nakuru County (Kenya) to promote peace between its different ethnic groups.
Among various projects were Early Warning Training, Children’s Peace Festival and Peace Tree Planting.
Peace Tree Planting
Assuming that trees are seeds of “Peace and Hope”, the Green Belt Movement and Green Cross Sweden have worked together among local communities in Nakuru County to promote peace and shun violence. To achieve such a goal, in May of 2016, 6,020 trees were planted in six schools and farmholds along the Rongai River.
This tree planting event had for its main purpose to show the school children how peace and environment are dependent on one another and that ensuring these trees’ survival will foster Peace. Beyond this message of Peace, the trees will also be a reminder of how taking care of nature is important both to present and future generations, and that we must give back to nature what humans have taken away.
Children’s Peace festival
Green Cross Sweden, Green Belt Movement and Scriptures Union organized a festival of peace-building activities between children from different communities. The Festival, whose theme was “Peace and Faith based organizations”, was an opportunity for children to express their creative talents. Some 1,200 children from 35 different schools in the Nakuru County attended the event.
Early Warning Training
A training session was held in March 2016, inviting community leaders from across the region to participate, as a means of understanding what peace is and how to move from blame to peaceful problem-solving with other communities (such as mediation, arbitration, etc.).