WORKSHOP ON WOMEN'S ROLE IN PEACE BUILDING AND CONFLICT TRANSFORMATION IN KENYA



Press Release

WORKSHOP ON WOMEN’S ROLE IN PEACE BUILDING AND CONFLICT TRANSFORMATION IN KENYA

DATE: 30th -31st of March 2015
VENUE: Hotel Intercontinental, Nairobi


The Agency for Co-operation and Research in Development (ACORD), with the support of UNDP Kenya and other partners, has been complementing work by the Kenya government and other stakeholders’ efforts in enhancing peace, national cohesion and reconciliation in the country. As part of this process, ACORD and UNDP will be holding a workshop on March 30 and 31 that will bring together women, stakeholders, experts and partners drawn from the areas of peace and security to deliberate on women’s role in peace building and conflict transformation.

Kenyans have had low level conflicts often manifested in cattle-rustling and other clan/tribal clashes flare-ups. However beginning in 1992, which coincided with the first multi-party elections, full-scale community fighting was witnessed mostly in the Rift Valley, Coast and parts of western Kenya disguised as political differences but actually related to disputes over land.
Following the contested 2007 general elections results, violence not witnessed before in Kenya erupted throughout the country, leading to over 1,000 deaths and close to 600,000 internally displaced persons.
When the international community came to Kenya’s rescue under the aegis of the panel of Africa’s Eminent Persons, part of what was prescribed and agreed as a package that would lead to the path to recovery was a review of the Kenya constitution and the establishment of the Truth, Justice and Reconciliation Commission.

For over five years, ACORD has been running peace programmes across the country informed by its rich history and lessons learnt in working across 18 countries in Africa, most of them in conflict. Using the Community Peace Recovery and Reconciliation model (CPRR), ACORD intervened in the Rift Valley region, particularly targeting two bordering districts, namely Sotik and Borabu that had adversely been affected by the 2007 post-election violence.

The successful signing of the Sotik and Borabu Agreement and the experience gained was used later in Bungoma and Trans Nzoia counties, working in partnership with the peace and rights programme of the Free Pentecostal Fellowship Church of Kenya (FPFK) and mobilising the Bukusu, Teso and Sabaot communities to jointly examine their differences and points of contention and arrive at a consensus of how to peacefully co-exist. These dialogues culminated in the signing of the historical Mabanga Peace Accord in 2011 (/silo/files/mabanga-peace-accord.pdf).

In recent times, Kenya has suffered on several occasions from religious extremists who have misused religion and tried to draw a wedge between Kenyans of different faiths. The government has been on alert to the many terror threats and has been on record admitting to have foiled many of them. However, some terrorist acts have been committed leading to massive deaths and destruction of property. This has happened against a backdrop of religious radicalisation of youth, who eventually take up arms against their own nation, sisters and brothers.
All these have had a devastating impact on Kenya’s economy and specifically tourism that is a leading foreign exchange earner for the country. Today, Kenya is at war in Somalia for these same reasons. Stakeholders are rightly worried that a programme of radicalisation of youth could form a basis for inter-faith clashes plunging the country into turmoil unknown to its shores.

The issue of sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV) as an integral part of the conflict that has been used as a weapon by all sides of the conflict (rebels groups and national armies and even peacekeepers) has also been critical in Kenya. It goes without saying that almost always, women and girls are targeted for sexual molestation as part of a wider war/conflict strategy to inflict pain on rivals. This has been observed in Kenya whenever inter-communal flare-ups occur. Often this has led to un-imaginable and lasting physical and physiological scars on women and girls. Conflict further adversely affects other aspects of the women’s life, her health and that of her family, the livelihoods and economic participation leading to poverty, hunger and hunger-related loss of lives, family disintegration, single and child headed households, mostly headed by women or girl children.

On the international front, the United Nations realised the adverse effects of conflict on women as well the value-added in conflict transformation and reconstruction of the community and designed UNSCR1325 on women and peace and security on October 31, 2000 that stated that women should receive the attention they rightly deserve as agents of peace and should be consulted in any peace-building efforts around the world.

UNSCR 1325 stresses the importance of women’s equal and full participation as active agents in the prevention and resolution of conflicts, peace building and peacekeeping. It calls on member states to ensure women’s equal participation and full involvement in all efforts for the maintenance and promotion of peace and security, and urges all actors to increase the participation of women and incorporate gender perspective in all areas of peace building.

The objectives of the meeting are:
•    to examine Kenya’s challenges in keeping the peace, prevention of conflict, best practices and lessons learned;
•    to understand the impact of violent conflicts from a gender perspective;
•    to discuss the implementation of article 16 of the Women’s charter on women the rights and responsibilities of women in promotion of peace;
•    to provide a platform for women stakeholders affected by insecurity and or with experience in the peace and security areas to caucus and exchange ideas on women’s role in peace building and conflict transformation;
•    to understand Government steps made towards securing peace, enhance cohesion and contributions to reconciling Kenyans; and
•    to provide a platform for stakeholders to forge a common front on working together through combined synergies and expertise towards national reconciliation agenda in light of UN Resolution 1325 and other national and global instruments related to peace, justice and governance.

The expected outcomes of the workshop are:
•    a shared understanding of women’s role in peace-building and conflict transformation in Kenya;
•    provide feedback to government peace and security agencies on the effectives of policies and programmes targeted at peace-building, national cohesion and reconciliation; and
•    develop an understanding of the global development process as envisaged in the proposed sustainable development goals with specific reference to Goal 16 on peace, justice and governance and the UN Resolution 1325 on the role of women in peace processes.

Please confirm your attendance with Mary Musau via email: mary.musau@acordinternational org or via Telephone at: 0202721172/85/86.

  • kenya
  • peace
  • women