| Apr 3, 2023
Business Between Women Helps to Preserve a Fragile Peace
Naanyu, a Samburu, at the business network launch
This report is being sent to 45 friends of Children Peace Initiative Kenya, who have donated $6,756 to help us strengthen collaboration between women leaders from the Samburu and Pokot tribes in Northwest Kenya. We are very grateful!
Under our project, ten women – five from the Samburu community and five from Pokot – have used the funds raised through GlobalGiving to develop collaborative ventures. The two groups of women already owned businesses. Our project has helped them to use these businesses to connect the two communities and build peace during a turbulent time.
These collaborative efforts between the Pokot and Samburu women have strengthened inter-dependency across the two neighboring communities, extending far beyond the ten women. The two tribal groups have been interacting during market days and cultural events and exchanging invitations for religious events.
Unfortunately, however, the overall security in the region is deteriorating. Over the last couple of months, parts of Baringo and Samburu counties have suffered incessant inter-ethnic attacks and killings. These have caused the government to impose security measures such as a dawn-to-dusk curfew and restricted movement. The government has also launched 24-hour long security operations to forcefully remove guns.
This has affected interactions between the Pokot and Samburu women entrepreneurs. However, Fatuma, one of the beneficiaries from the Samburu side, told our CPI team that the relationship between the two groups is strong and that they continue engaging actively with each other.
For example, the Samburu members continue to communicate regularly with the Pokot women and also participate with them in a type of savings club known as a “Merry-Go-Round.” Also, the Pokot women share information with the Samburu about potential raids.
One of the photos shows Margaret, a founding member of the women's network, outside her restaurant in the Samburu town of Longewan. On a busy market day, Margaret feeds over 100 Pokot customers who visit Longewan for the market.
Also, in spite of the tensions, Samburu and Pokot communities of Amaya still maintain a good relationship and have voluntarily returned stolen goats to their owners on two occasions.
In other words, business is helping to preserve the peace on both sides. Some businesses have even grown. Fatuma on the Samburu side enlarged her premises and increased her stock. Another member of the network has opened a new clothes shop. Another has opened a hotel.
Overall, however, the insecurity and fear has led to less movement between the villages and this has affected business. But Fatuma says they still engage in exchanges on a small scale despite the challenges. Recently the Pokots from Amaya requested seeds to plant maize and Fatuma was able to send 20 bags of seed from Longewan to Amaya. She also still buys her vegetables from Amaya and sells them to the Samburus in Longewan.
The other good news is that the corridor where the women entrepreneurs live on the Samburu and Baringo sides has remained peaceful. Community leaders say this is due to previous peace work in the area, including by CPI. CPI's network of businesswomen has also demystified the supposed “enemy” on the other side.
Chief Benjamin, who is the area chief in the village of Logorate, made a courtesy phone call to CPI Kenya to thank us for CPI’s previous initiative targeting women in business and the community at large. He said: “Although we are surrounded by very turbulent villages in both Samburu and Baringo side, our zone has remained peaceful courtesy of the women entrepreneurs and the cow camp event that brought together Samburu and Pokot warriors.”
At CPI Kenya we are glad that this important initiative targeting women has had such a great impact and continues to connect these two communities during such a turbulent time. It is our hope that the situation will eventually improve and that the women businesses will continue thriving.
Thank you again!
Monica and the CPI team in Kenya.
Chepsait heads the Pokot team of network members
Margaret, Samburu, at her cafe in Longewan
Natasha from CPIK and Julia, 2022 Peace Fellow
Monica from CPIK at a children's peace camp
Josephine, Samburu, sells maize to Pokot customers