Communities are the cradle for peace. This is especially so in Africa where due to the Ubuntu philosophy of life, people groups are so tightly knit that individual peace is intricately linked to community peace. It is in this understanding that ACA’s flagship program is community peacebuilding. We believe in a genuine bottom-up, participatory approach to community peacebuilding. It is more relevant, appropriate and sustainable. Our task is therefore to identify the top, committed and influential opinion leaders and activists in the communities where we work and build their capacity to implement the community peacebuilding initiatives.
The rationale for our community peacebuilding initiatives is that though Government’s major duty is provision of peace and security to its citizens, its programs do not usually include soft diplomacy processes such forgiveness, healing, reconciliation and constructive conflict resolution. Moreover, government efforts are also often strong in bureaucracy and weak in capacity and political will. Our community-led dialogue, mediation and advocacy processes complement government efforts.
Our current peacebuilding initiatives are focused on two fragile conflict-affected clusters of communities of Kenya, one living around the Mount Elgon region in Western Kenya and the other in Northeastern Kenya. Though there may not be active violent conflict in these areas, the low key violent conflict greatly affects the peace, wellbeing and livelihoods of the locals.The outcomes of our interventions have been:-
- Improved inter-ethnic understanding and co-existence
- Improved social attitudes and behaviour
- Improved perceptions of the role of women and youth in peacebuilding
- Improved working relationships and cooperation between government and community leaders and population
- Increased support of community initiatives by government agencies such as police, courts and local administration