PEACEFUL TRANSITION THROUGH EQUITABLE RESOURCE ACCESS AND ENVIRONMENTAL RESTORATION PROJECT
In Nakuru County lies imbedded a latent risk for serious post-conflict. After the General Elections a majority of the major seats were won by members from one majority community, for example: the Governor, Senator, Women and Ward Representatives. There is a looming danger if the new construction assumes a negative ethnicism, that the occupiers of these offices begin working towards satisfying the expectations of the majority ethnic groups who supposedly elected them. If the minority groups, who are assumed not to have elected them, are left out of the mainstream decision-making processes, then there is a risk for the potential outbreak of more conflicts. Furthermore, the level of accountability in these institutions will be compromised, as they will not have succinct internal checks and balances. It is also imperative to note that Nakuru County still has many issues that have remained unresolved for a long time now, and where these issues are most likely to find their way into the new political dispensation.
Land for example still remains an emotive issue. Other challenges include the question of clear definitions of county boundaries, the question of unsettled IDPs2, and the issue of the majority and minority representation in the counties. These challenges include the managing of the winners and losers in the recently concluded General Elections, as well as their supporters. Finally the whole issue of inequitable distribution of resources remains.
Elders at the Kariko Nursery working in Watershed Rehabilitation. Photo:TM
The lack of the wide adoption of sustainable environmental management practices within communities continues to threaten the ability for these rural villages to provide for themselves and the wider region. Nakuru County is one of the major breadbasket regions of Kenya, producing potatoes, wheat, peas, carrots and cabbages. This region lies on the fertile slopes of the Mau Complex and Aberdares Ranges. It serves as a critical region hosting important watersheds (watershed: an area of land with a bounded hydrologic system, within which all living things are inextricably linked by their common water course and where, as humans settled, begin to interact as a part of a community). These watersheds, such as the Malewa and Njoro that support Lake Naivasha, Lake Elementaita and Lake Nakuru, both contribute to development of micro and macro industries. Continued fragmentation of gazetted and community forests, coupled by climate change poses a scarcity of resources, challenge the communities diminishing access to natural resources. This has in the past led to violent resource control clashes in the region.
This project has aimed to strengthen the roles of the District Peace Committees, in the five constituencies
of: Molo, Njoro, Kuresoi South, Kuresoi North and Naivasha, in Nakuru Countto, to integrate and empower their capacity to promote of the structures that enhance peaceful coexistence, equitable distribution of resources and sustainable management of natural resources.
Goals of the Project
The project goal, with a multitude of initiatives, continues to strengthen community and institutional structures to enhance inter-ethnic cooperation and representation, equitable access, equitable distribution of resources and environmental restoration during the transition period of the devolved government. The project thus continues to nurture the existing Peace Committees and ensuring in county management.
1. To enhance community participation and representation in governance and resource mobilization through awareness creation and training.
2. To develop the capacity of the District Peace Committees on negotiation, networking and advocacy, whereby bridging the interaction between ethnic communities, as well as grassroots with the local governing bodies.
3. To promote peaceful coexistence amongst younger generations by inclusion in community governance, with youth led dialogues, inter-ethnic sports events, and through the development of performing arts and educational activities for children.
4. To promote environmental restoration, as well as livelihood improvement, through the Watershed Based Approach.
At the Mosop Secondary and Primary School: Here the school board, parent’s association, teachers and students gather on October 22, 2014 to meet with representatives from Green Cross Sweden and Green Belt Movement. This newly joined school has formed an active Peace Committee, a Children’s Peace Club, and planted 2000 Peace Trees. Photo: TM
Capacity Building for Nakuru County Government and Peace Infrastructure in Nakuru County
This component of project implementation aimed at harnessing the full potential of the new Nakuru County Government to overcome ethnic fragility and tensions. The focus is to consolidate the goodwill of the grassroots electorate in the county, whereby beginning the steps towards recovery, peace and state building. 63 District Peace Committee members participated in the workshop in April 2014, representing all subcounties of: Rongai, Kuresoi, Nakuru, Molo and Njoro, in Nakuru County. The team were trained on the linkage between peace, good governance and environmental conservation. 50 Ward Peace Committees Members from Kuresoi, Molo Town, Rongai, Njoro and Naivasha were also trained in July 2014, on Participatory Leadership, with their responsibility in peace building and empowering the grass root communities, thus working to ensure sustainable peace. Notably two third of the participants were women. These peace infrastructures are working towards promoting a culture of unity or synthesis and de-ethnicization in county policies, services and programs.
The District Peace Building Committees also discussed Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR), which entails: mediation, arbitration, conciliation, and other creative peaceful means of resolving conflict. The purpose and aim is to promote the use of conflict resolution in schools, families, businesses, communities, governments, and the legal system, while recognizing the significant contributions of peaceful conflict resolvers.
The District Peace Building Committee members came up with an active plan for the alternative dispute resolution work, as a way forward for solving the pending conflicts, addressing the past post-election violence, as well as the challenges facing the new legal system in Kenya. This method proves to be a good alternative to use in the future.
The purpose of this action plan was to make ADR a viable mechanism from creating awareness of its value; enhancing capacity building and popularization the process in community Alternative Disputes Resolution in Nakuru County and in the entire republic.
Oct. 21, 2014: The project encourages the leadership of women. The Karico Nursery is led by the women. Photo:TM