Children Peace Initiative Kenya (CPI) resolves conflict between pastoralists in northwest Kenya by developing friendships between their children and building on this to resolve interethnic conflict. This project will pair 100 families from the Samburu and Pokot tribes whose children have formed strong friendships at CPI "Peace Camps", and provide the families with cows. The families will raise the cows together, thus reinforcing friendships and creating an economic incentive for sustained peace.
The development of markets, agriculture, and basic services in northwest Kenya has been crippled by perennial violence between Samburu and Pokot pastoralists, whose livelihood and honor depend on livestock ownership. Tribal animosities and limited grazing space have fueled repeated cycles of violence, isolated villages, and perpetuated interethnic fear. Persistent drought in the region continues to devastate pastoralists' herds and threaten CPI's peace-building achievements.
The gift of a heifer can ease the economic burden on pastoralists by offering them the opportunity to breed up to six calves and earn much-needed supplemental income through the sale of milk. Indeed CPI has found that adding just one heifer can restore a herd and alleviate the stress of drought. By linking families through cows, the project will foster economic inter-dependence between the two tribes and give beneficiaries a real incentive to break the cycle of violence based on self-interest.
Sharing heifers creates bonds between families on both sides of tribal conflict, but also builds trust and economic dependency. This produces many peace dividends, including an end to cattle rustling, the sharing of resources and increased trade. The Samburu and Pokot have stopped fighting, partly as a result of CPI's peace camps and heifer program. We estimate that 1,000 family members will directly benefit from this heifer appeal. The impact on their communities will be deep and long-lasting.