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Responding to Deadly Conflicts in Western Kenya

by Transforming Community for Social Change
Responding to Deadly Conflicts in Western Kenya
Responding to Deadly Conflicts in Western Kenya
Responding to Deadly Conflicts in Western Kenya
Responding to Deadly Conflicts in Western Kenya
Responding to Deadly Conflicts in Western Kenya
Responding to Deadly Conflicts in Western Kenya
Responding to Deadly Conflicts in Western Kenya
Responding to Deadly Conflicts in Western Kenya
Responding to Deadly Conflicts in Western Kenya
Responding to Deadly Conflicts in Western Kenya
Responding to Deadly Conflicts in Western Kenya
Responding to Deadly Conflicts in Western Kenya
Responding to Deadly Conflicts in Western Kenya
Responding to Deadly Conflicts in Western Kenya
Responding to Deadly Conflicts in Western Kenya
Responding to Deadly Conflicts in Western Kenya
67 year old woman receiving relief.
67 year old woman receiving relief.

When the government announced the first case of Corona virus in the country, we all went into panic and anxiety, everything started to shut down slowly. The government directive and measures forced us to close all our programs considering the fact that in most of our peace program we would bring more than twenty participants in training. As an organization we had less experience on strategies to cope with the crisis. Through consultative meetings with other stakeholders and our partners through Zoom and Skype calls, we started our intervention.

We started educating and encouraging communities around us to adhere to Government measures of washing hands with water and soap/using sanitizers, keeping social distance, wearing masks and staying at home. It was not easy to learn this new normal. Everyday we had new infections, new deaths from COVI19 virus and other related illness. All this measures came with a price tag on it; Most of communities in Mt. Elgon could not access clean sufficient water leave alone affording soap. The cost of masks was equivalent to a meal that would feed a household, staying at home for low income earners who live below the poverty line would not only die from Covid19 but hunger due to lack of food.

AGLI coordinator David Bucura in a consultative Skype meeting with country coordinators of partner organizations in Kenya, Rwanda and Burundi, agreed in the meeting that there was a need for food support that include dry cereals of maize, beans, rice, green grams, maize flour. In addition we had cooking oil and soap  to the vulnerable members of community this included households of people living with disability, elderly and those who in poverty. The coordinator shared the same with AGLI working group and funding was released to buy food. Initially we had targeted 25 households of about 8 family members each that could give us around 200 beneficiaries both Quakers and non-Quaker., We managed to reached 300 families in 36 households, On 4th of July we had reached hundreds of vulnerable groups such as unemployed youth, the elderly, women and children from low-income households and people living with disability, who were at higher risk of food scarcity and malnutrition.

Distributing food supply is one of the most challenging activities. Despite the organization having Identified the most vulnerable beneficiary, other community members who could afford also wanted a share of the supply. During distribution we met other challenges of girls in need of sanitary pads, psychosocial support and guiding and counseling.  

The COVID-19 pandemic has negatively affected the ongoing and planned peace processes and trainings. It is becoming increasingly difficult to facilitate intra and interethnic dialogues. We cannot travel to conflict affected areas to conduct dialogue with parties in dispute. As result there are increased cases of intra and inter-ethnic conflicts in traditional conflict prone areas.

Another challenge being posed by the COVID-19 pandemic is stigma and stereotyping against infected and affected people as well as social animosity based on mis-conception on the virus.

Due to the prolonged home stays by people who would otherwise be away from home, there is the risk of increased family feuds such as gender-based violence including sexual violence, divorce and separation among couples, high levels of stress and emotional instability, among others, especially in poor households.

Following the pandemic there has been increase in anxiety, stress, panic attacks and mental illness. These should be major healthcare concerns during and after Covid-19 era.

Moving forward, we have great opportunity to start addressing trauma related issues now that churches have been opened, the government can allow 100 people in church congregation.

Address the issue of early pregnancy in Mt. Elgon; create avenues to get funding for sanitary towel.

Organize stakeholder meeting with local administration and the teenagers to take about challenges putting in mind schools will not open until next year, 2021,

Due to economic instability in the country, loss of jobs by pandemic, culture shock and trauma around mourning and police brutality during enforcement of curfew laws, there is a high rate of mental disorder that has caused lack of peace among communities which has led to depressions.

“We have never met God, when we meet like this and talk, God is present, am very grateful, I never knew I will get food to eat, when we go to bed you don’t know Gods plan in the morning. Thank you very much; I am happy my family will have something to eat.”

Since the government announced the pandemic, we were left on our own. At my age cannot work anymore, I solemnly depend on neighbors and well-wishers,  already my neighbors are struggling just like me, today I had decided to cook this wild red  pepper vegetables as my meal, Gods works in mysteries ways, am grateful to your organization for reaching to elderly widow like me, God bless you.”

Getry giving relief to member of Malava Meeting.
Getry giving relief to member of Malava Meeting.
TCSC volunteer Christine delivering food.
TCSC volunteer Christine delivering food.
I am inspecting the bags of relief.
I am inspecting the bags of relief.
I am giving relief to one of our beneficiaries.
I am giving relief to one of our beneficiaries.
Getry - listening session with man with disability
Getry - listening session with man with disability
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Trust walk
Trust walk

Healing and Rebuilding our Communities (HROC) International workshop in Rwanda Musanze Feb. 02-22/2020

Facilitators: Serete Peter, Anena Terry and Solange Maniraguha

The first Basic

In all international Healing and rebuilding our community workshops we always give participants an opportunity to attend a basic HROC workshop with local community members to help them have an introductory sense of how things are done in terms of the context and the methodology in delivering a workshop. In three days participants will recognize and understand Trauma, learn skills of dealing with their personal trauma, carefully begin their personal journey of healing, recognize that life continues after traumatic event and help them reconnect with their communities and rebuilt society.

    During the basic workshop participants were drawn from 6 countries, we had 5 from Zimbabwe, 1 from Democratic Republic of Congo, 1 from Nigeria, 6 from Rwandans and 1 from Kenya. The workshop was conducted by three facilitators from Kenya, Uganda and Rwanda with the help of a Rwandan translator. 

    Local leader from the office of civil registration in the sector opened the workshop officially and assured both local and international participants of their safety and appreciated the collaboration between HROC Rwanda and the Local administration. “I welcome you all in Rwanda, we were told about your coming, Rwanda is peaceful, we like visitors, you are free to move around and visits beautiful sites here in Musanze, with  thank the organizers for collaborating with local Government, this shows that for us to heal and have peace, we need to work together” Community leaders play an important role in identifying and inviting potential participants to a workshop. The process is done in fairness and balance in the selection process. During the process it is important to ask questions about the person’s symptoms and experience before immediately accepting such a participant, to ensure that the person is stable enough to participate in the workshop. 

Experience and testimonies from the participant varies depending on the depth of understanding and the level of transformation towards healing, three day may not be enough, however the module is  design to help individual on the underlying philosophy that each person and society has the inner capacity to heal and an inherent intuition of how to recover from trauma.

“I appreciate the methodology and how the module has been simplified to deepen our understanding, the meaningful examples were helpful, given my own time to share my traumatic experience was so enriching”

“I have been working with traumatized people in my community, I find it useful especially the support given to me by you, I felt not judged, my opinion was respected, and more importantly I was involved in all process”

“Am Glad I was given time to share my traumatic experience, sometime you feel you are alone, I have decided not to go back home again because I don’t want to meet my neighbor who killed my family members, when I was listening to people share, it gives you courage to share your own pain and find ways of getting help, I need more time and hope I will work on my fears and more importantly I will need help from facilitators”

“Facilitators gave us opportunity to share our thought and insight on our own understanding of trauma”.

The Training of Trainers

After all international participants have attended a basic HROC, they embark on a two weeks long, during this time we manage to prepare new facilitators to facilitate  a basic HROC workshop, deepen their understanding of trauma, trauma recovery, listening and the role of trauma healing in reconciliation.

With mentorship of a lead facilitator the program help to develop and practice basic peer counseling and listening skills, so facilitators are accomplished healing companion in their communities

At the end of two weeks the new HROC facilitators develop and practice basic facilitation skills

In order to push into the intense and difficult journey of trauma recovery and healing, participants, facilitators and healing companions alike must have strategies, rituals and sources of strength that can serve as anchors, for many years in all our international trainings participants have come out with creative ways that keep each person connected to him or herself, to one another and God. Without these, we can lose ourselves in sea of pain and helplessness.

Some faced challenges during this one

We are sharing some of the challenges met during this one training. Some are new, others are not, but just keep coming as challenge.

-Unfinished constructions at the Hroc Center that pushes us to take some of the participants staying at the hotel. This is more challenging, when you ask people to walk after having diner, and it is late in the night.

-Using an apprentice facilitator(s) and don’t pay them anything is not fair. Spending three weeks and going back home with empty pocket… It is really challenging.

Testimonies

  • Eugenia (from Zimbabwe): It is so powerful to have this kind of training. I cant wait to go back to Zim to do some Hroc workshops. It is a based community approach for sure. I have learned so much from you(facilitators), and learned from the approach itself. For us in Zimbabwe, when we do workshops on trauma healing, we train victims themselves, and the perpetrators, or vice versa. Now I see the importance of bringing them together. I appreciate so muc Hroc Philosophy. Very rich and touches everyone in the community. I think we will organize a Hroc training of trainers back home, and have more facilitators, because the work is huge and needed.
  • Mike (from Zimbabwe): Its just too much! Its rich and easy to learn. I normally work with others in a group, but now I see how much this Hroc approach touches the grass roots. Thank you my organization for bringing me to this one. We are still going under political pressure in our country. People are still in the cycle of violence. We have so much to do!
  • James (Nigeria):” Let us not loose hope”. There still time and space for someone to get healed. I was waiting for this one training to happen so that I can attend. I have founded myself to be here because I needed too. My fellow facilitators from Nigeria have interested me when they shared some of the things they have learned from the same kind or training, now I can testify it myself. I am just wondering how we can cooperate with other facilitators from my country as they seem to be away from me. But I still believe we can do something. I myself got helped to go through my personal journey of healing. Thank you so much Hroc.

 Recommendations for way forward

1.HROC IT participants database

2.International follow up activities

3.Being open to some adaptations if there is a need for the country/context

4.HROC facilitators gathering to be organized.

Official opening by local government leader
Official opening by local government leader
Participants during workshop
Participants during workshop
Two participants in small group discussion
Two participants in small group discussion
Practice facilitation
Practice facilitation
Workshop exercise
Workshop exercise
Group photo with certificates
Group photo with certificates
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Participants/trainers at HROC training in Rwanda.
Participants/trainers at HROC training in Rwanda.

REPORT FOR HROC INTERNATIONAL TRAINING

Halo everyone.  I am pleased to inform you that I travelled to Musanze District in Rwanda for Healing and Rebuilding Our Communities Training (HROC) which started on 2nd February to 21st February. 2020.  We were 9 people from Zimbabwe, Congo, Nigeria, Rwanda and Kenya who were trained to be HROC facilitators.

The training was so enriching we had a workshop with three university students from Musanze and two women from the community and each one of us shared their story after learning what trauma is, stages of trauma, causes and consequences of trauma among many other sub – topics.  The facilitators of HROC did a great job as they took us through the training in a very simple and understandable way.  The last week we went to the community to do an apprentice workshop. We were divided into three groups.  One group trained the church leaders and pastors, another the youth and my group had widows, single women, and those who had faced domestic violence.  It was really a great experience, I enjoyed and loved it so much.  I felt my dream had come true as I have been longing to get involved in peace work.  I would use the skills as indicated earlier in my profile to help the community at large, women facing domestic violence, children in slum areas, parents of children living with disabilities and people in refugee camps through having workshops with the help of other HROC facilitators.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank David Zarembka and all who made it possible for me to attend this noble training through GlobalGiving, May the Almighty God bless you all.

Judith M’maitsi Nandikove

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Girls displaying their sanitary napkins.
Girls displaying their sanitary napkins.

Transforming Community for Social Change has continuously participated in a grassroot’s approach to monitor and observe early warning indicators that can lead to violence. The last three month focused of building a strategic work plan that will enable our organization to intervene in emerging conflict in the western part of Kenya and Kakuma refugee camp.

We have also strengthened our nonviolence approach through  AVP trainings with young people.

Last December we brought more than 500 children of Mt. Elgon to a children’s celebration and introduce them to our peace library, and creating cultures of peace through athletics, ball games, fun games and class work in identifying talents.

In January Peter Serete attended the  7th International  PeaceTraining in Pati, Central Java,Indonesia.

In 2019 90 donors contributed through GlobalGiving a total of $17,230 to Transforming Communities for Social Change. TCSC appreciates and thanks these people for their support.

Girls at Christmas Children's celebration.
Girls at Christmas Children's celebration.
Girls playing game at Children's celebration.
Girls playing game at Children's celebration.
School supplies given to children at celebration.
School supplies given to children at celebration.
Getry giving trophy to winning soccer team.
Getry giving trophy to winning soccer team.
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Male participants - HROC basic training in Nomorio
Male participants - HROC basic training in Nomorio

Program activities 2018-2019 fiscal year

Program           Number of Trainings Male Female People living with disabilities

HROC Basic                  42                  412      427                    1

HROC Advance              1                    10         8

AVP                              15                  184      116

Civic education               11                  710       390

Community Dialogue        3                  113         97                   2

Mediation                        2                    12

*****

Report on recent workshops 

Type of The Training: Alternatives To Violence Project (AVP) basic Workshop

Dates:  14-19/10/2019

Place/Venue: Nomorio Kapsokwony

Participants: male 21 Female 22 Facilitators 3

Workshop Description

Violence is now an epidemic. It’s no longer just an inner crisis but it has become a major concern for all communities especially Mt Elgon. Young people are more commonly using  violence as a solution to their problems and think very little of the consequences. Nomorio village has experience violence which is triggered by past violence experience, incitement from the politicians, unemployment, availability of small arms and school dropouts. Most young people opt to use violence as means of airing their grievances. Transforming Community for Social Change (TCSC) has been on forefront in intervening in the midst of erupted violence and unrest among the youth. Two AVP trainings were contacted this month. We looked at prevention and intervention of violence among the youth.

Testimonies

“I have started acknowledging and voicing what I do well and what we like about others. I have also realized how important as a youth in creating a positive environment which promotes peace and say no to violence” . Creative Charles.

“As a youth I have had challenges communicating leading to misunderstanding. Good and bad listening will build my skills of observing and perceiving more importantly listening to others and respecting their opinions,recognizing communication barriers,and developing awareness of non-verbal communication” Peaceful Patrick.

“I enjoy this AVP training because of the games,in which everyone wins, everyone gets to play and the group  is challenged towork together” Mercyful Mercy.

“In role plays and problem solving exercises,it helped us to find solutions to problems and conflicts in every day relationships. I learnt that I can dea lwith conflict in a way that is positive andcreative which   introduce a positive side of ourselves to others and develop our community” Polite Peter

*****                      

Type of The Training: Healing and Rebuilding Our Community (HROC) basic Workshop

Dates:  14-19/10/2019

Place/Venue: Nomorio Kapsokwony

Participants: Male 29 Female 18 Facilitators 3

Section of male participant in HROC basic training in Nomorio

Workshop Description

Trauma healing has been one of our key program in Mt Elgon. The need for more for this kind of trainings help us to continue provide healing support to groups that have undergone trauma at both individual level and communal level, a group of elderly men and women from different faiths.

Testimonies

 “We have undergone problems. We suffer silently and no one has ever come for our rescue. When my husband died 3 years ago, this training has help me to understand trauma more deeply and also knowing many root causes o ftrauma” Jenniffer

“Trauma is a sickness. Many on this mountain are sick. Some don’t know if its trauma. They take painkillers everyday which has contributed to many other illnesses. It was not easy for me to talk after sharing my loss. I feel better” Micheal

“I love this program. I also liked how facilitators cared for us. Let this not be the end of program. Come again” Doreen

“I have started my journey of healing. I have my neighbor and I think this training will also be help her” Gladys

“I have always had a feeling of sadness and discouragement. Listening to all these stories and what my friends have gone through, I feel a sense of belonging. We need to remain together and support one another and keep checking on each other every day.” Beatrice.

Recommendation and Evaluation.

  • Continue promoting peace through this program
  • Build recue centers for people who have experience trauma especially women and children

Bring facilitators during our harvest time, we will provide food.

AVP -- Sharing a conflict I resolved nonviolently.
AVP -- Sharing a conflict I resolved nonviolently.
Village Elder Micheal sharing in a group of two's.
Village Elder Micheal sharing in a group of two's.
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Project Leader:
David Zarembka
Kakamega, Kenya
$29,963 raised of $35,000 goal
 
546 donations
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