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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
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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Women attending the truma healing workhsop
Women attending the truma healing workhsop

In July thanks to the fundraising TCSC accomplished through GlobalGiving,  Peter and  Simon were able to attend the HROC International Training in Musanze, Rwanda. Here is a comment Peter made on his facebook page:

As the curtain falls on the Trauma Healing and Resiliency Course at the Healing and Rebuilding Our Communities (HROC) Center in Musanze, Rwanda, the are several lessons learnt and skills acquired which need to be explored further in our communities back home. One of them is the Trust Walk and the trauma healing journey, Before this we learnt more about trauma, the causes of trauma, symptoms of trauma, consequences of trauma and the trauma recovery and healing journey.


As a community we can only truly heal from trauma when we discover the abundance of goodness found in the Tree of Trust. As such let us worship in the only true religion, that of kindness and remaining steadfast in our desire to do good and perform acts of kindness always.

*****

HROC and AVP workshops for women in sewing project in Kakuma Refugee Camp

The training had 24 women from South Sudanese, Congolese, Somalis and Burundians who carried traumatic events with them that have destroyed the sustaining bonds between individual and community. Furthermore, the current form of aid is not tailored to the needs, situation and prospects of refugees and host communities. The economic potential of the camp has not been fully utilized and the host community, which is one of the most marginalized in Kenya, feels that it has not benefited much from the presence of refugees Sometimes conflicts escalate, leading to injuries and even deaths on both sides for many refugees, lack of a steady income makes it difficult to buy firewood or charcoal to fill the gap, and so they often gather firewood themselves from the bushes around the camp. This puts them in conflict with the Turkana, who consider themselves the “owners of the soil.”

In the fulfillment and preparation of the Kalobeyei women empowerment entrepreneurship project, both Healing and Rebuilding Our Community and Alternative to Violence trainings were held at Kalobeyei Friend Church in preparation of the second phase which will focus on training on the sewing project.

Healing and Rebuilding our Communities

This basic workshop was a cornerstone in a larger program designed to build community capacity to respond to wide-spread trauma and to strengthen inter- connections and reduce isolation. They are trained to listen compassionately and accompany family members and neighbors on their journeys of healing.

This is an effort to improve relations between the groups and acknowledging that many of the refugees would likely remain in Kenya for the foreseeable future. Those who have survived learn that their sense of self, of worth, of humanity, depends upon a feeling of connection to others. The solidarity of these 24 women provides the strongest protection against terror and despair, and the strongest solution to traumatic experience.

Testimonies

“My trauma isolated me from my family and friends, with hatred of other nationality but this group has re-created a sense of belonging.”

“For seven years I have been shamed and stigmatized for being a refugee. This is the first time I am sitting with a Somali woman. I am glad we share the same pain. I am happy they have all listened to me.”

 “We women have been degraded, dehumanizes and faulted in many ways. We have been victims of very many bad things, this training is restoring our humanity.”

Repeatedly in the testimony of survivors there comes a moment when a sense of connection is restored by another person’s unaffected display of another person’s story which is mirrored in the trauma of others. The survivor recognizes and reclaims a lost part of herself. At that moment, the survivor begins to rejoin the human commonality.

Way forward

The overall objective of this initiative is to re-orient the refugee assistance program to contribute to improvement of the socio-economic conditions of the refugees and host communities, better prepare the host community to take advantage of emerging economic opportunities in upcoming extraction and the phase two of this project will reduce over-dependence on humanitarian aid and support the refugees to achieve durable solutions.  

Trust walk exercises -- even though we didn’t have scarves for blindfolding, participants used their hands to cover. In trauma we both need help and a helper in our journey of healing.

Alternative to Violence

Many refugee people growupsurrounded byviolence,andlearn toseeviolence and abuse ofpower asnormal andeffective responses toconflict. Violence appears tobethe only viable option forresponding toconflict. Themain objective of this training with the 24 women was;

Toraiseawareness ofthepeople haveinaconflict. AVP teaches thatconflict doesnotneed to beavoided and thatitdoesnotneedtobemetwithviolence. Intheideal world, conflicts can beresolved with "win/win" solutions, onesinwhich everyone leaves withtheirneeds met.

Nonviolence isnotjust astateofmindoranattitude towards conflict. Itisa commitment toactively seektochange theforce orsituation thatdegrade andoppress people. Itis acommitment toaddress violence atits roots.

AVPteaches thatthebestwayto overcome injustice is tocome together asa refugee community andturntoeachotherasresources forchange. This grassroots approach toending injustice emphasizes thatchange ispossible if our refugee communitiescome together andthateachperson hasanimportant roletoplay inthe process. Theyrequire skills thatmust belearned andpracticed, skills thatareintimately related toeach other andthatbuild onone another.

Testimonies

“We are entrapped by violence. No one among us that does not share the capacity for violence, and all of us has been hurt or we have hurt others by means of violence. This training is going to help us as women in finding alternatives ways of dealing with violence.”

“As we plan to start our sewing project. I know we will have disagreement among us. Use of I message as a non violent communication will help us.”

Way Forward

This project promotes conflict resolution and reconciliation. With all this skills participants have develop resilience in relieving suffering, poverty and distress and building and maintaining social cohesion and trust, within and between host and refugees communities.

*****

Report on three AVP workshops in Matungu

First Basic AVP workshop

Sponsors of the Workshop/Meeting/Training:  AGLI/ GlobalGiving

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

Dates:  1-3/05/2019

Place/Venue: The Church in Matungu

Workshop Description

Matungu is in Mumias Busia road and the church in matungu is situated  at the  market center, The mobilize brought participants from one Church and most of them were relatives, pastors and ten out of the thirteen women were semi illiterate and some dropped out of  primary school and some were husband and wife which became a challenge for them to participant fully however AVP in its methodology, it gives equal opportunity to all without stereotyping, the workshop was well conducted at least passing the knowledge to individual that were open to it.

Testimonies

“I have learnt to respect and care for others which for many years I have ignore that, I will try to help other in my family,”

“I can use these teachings when I preach because they have really helped me as a pastor”

“If this teaching can be taken to our community ant grassroots level, matungu will be a better place to buy a property and leave with your neighbors with fair of being attacked “

“Use of I message is very good, because it bring good communication and correct the mistake without attacking the person that has offended you.”

Evaluation and recommendation that come from the participants one was to teach in Kiswahili, involved youth in peace work, the training to come again, give out handout materials fro future reference, then invite other member of different church. The workshop was not well mobilized, and then having a big number of participant who are not active became a challenge for facilitating team. We had good and more participants in Butere whom could have been given opportunity to do AVP basic training,

NB we dint have lost of Testimonies from this workshop, most of participant just said the workshop was good and they enjoyed the meals.

Second Basic AVP Workshop

Sponsors of the Workshop/Meeting/Training: AGLI/GlobalGiving

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

Dates: 6-8/05/2019

Place/Venue: Butere  Sabatia at Omondi's Place

Participants:Male17 female13

Workshop discription,

The Burete workshop was done in Sabatia at a place call omondi on your way to Butere, we started with overwhelmed 32 participants mainly youth and church representatives, very active participants who need five days in that training.

Testimonies

With well outlined objectives from the participants through their expectations they wanted to learn how to handle conflict, have the knowledge of peace, get skills on non violence, get platform to teach peace in their community, become youth educators of peace and understanding their role in peace building and get some setting allowance was the message that come from the t 32 participant but on day two we lost two participants and one insisted on setting allowance and maybe that was the reason to his dropping. However the remain 30 though a big class we help them through the process and here are some of the Testimonies,

“This is a very unique training where we are all given an opportunity to  share our side of story through practical experiences and the training has been friendly considering some of use didn’t go to school.”

“This training was like preaching to me I am leaving this Training a better youth and I will share this message with my friends who don’t know what I have learnt”

“I used I message on my in law and it worked a miracle after a very long time of misunderstanding between me and her, and I will keep it into practice”

“We have undergone lost of HIV/AIDS training in the enter Butere Mumias and this is one of the Organization that has brought peace trainings for the first time, this opportunity is very timely”

“We have been known of our polygamy lifestyle and this Training can be of great help in our family because lost of violence come about because of lack of communication and affirmation, we never see good in others, our step mother and even our parent fail to love and educate us then we turn against each other with bring conflict.”

“I have learnt that to revise my position if its wrong and working on my anger and reacting so fast then I will be a  transformed person, through this, training I am going to bring  healing in my family.”

Evaluation and recommendation that come from the participants “Through our churches we need to include this basic peace knowledge to our children to enable them grow up knowing the importance of peace”. Churches also requests for more training in their local church because many are willing to be training. Having A big turnout of the participant it calls for more AVP basic training in Future. We also saw a conflict of interest among church leaders present in the training, wanting to be given opportunity to have this training done in their areas.

Advanced AVP Workshop

Sponsors of the Workshop/Meeting/Training: AGLI/GlobalGiving

Type Of The Training: Alternatives To Violence Project (AVP) Advanced Workshop

Dates: 9-11/05/2019

Place/Venue: Matungu friends Church

Participants: Male17 female13

Workshop Description

The workshop was done in matungu which is in mumias that brought The Advance participants from the borders of siaya and western, mainly the participants were luhya’s  Kalenjins Kikuyu and luo’s.With active youthful energetic participants and a conducive environment the workshop was well attended.

Testimonies

The first question two questions on why I choose my adjective name and my thoughts about my basic AVP Training and what I have used, brought new insists and empowerment shifts of the participant weakness to recognizing the importance of Affirmation and using of I massage as a tool of communication has been of great help and has touched and healed many relationships.

‘I am changed, I am not the same again because I have let it go completely, I have realize myself, and from this Advance training I am going to be  a better person ’’

“I have already reconcile with my step mother who refused to allow my dad to take me to school, within few days that I have undergone this AVP training, though through the phone, I am thankful and grateful for the good work that you are doing to bring peace and changing in our community through forgiveness and realizing our dark side that has contributed to violence in our families “George.,

 “I am willing to be an instrument of peace now that I have realized I can be an instrument of peace which has been ignited   within me from this AVP class. We Kenyans, we label others negatively which hinder our journey to restoring the broken trust in our tribes and races because of culture, practically through the Label exercise, I have learnt that despite how we are perceived by others, still there is good in us.

“AVP has taught and help me understand the power of transformation in me. We pray God to give us strength for us to stand firm and built up our community on this knowledge that we have been imparted with. We need to reach out to the rest of our people   are still willing to come, and peace will be seen in Matungu”

“Guides to transforming power was an eye opener to me”

Evaluation and recommendation  that come from the  participants and was to expand programme Network to reach many youth in this area to help them spread the t gospel of peace, We appreciate you for  identifying to work at grassroots because violence starts here then it spreads to Big towns. Request for A training of trainers

*****

Longtime supporter of the Chebyuk Peace Center and the Children's Christmas Celebration, Shelly from the United States, visited TCSC in July and spent three days at the peace center on Mt. Elgon.

The 24 women will learn how to sew.
The 24 women will learn how to sew.
HROC trust walk.
HROC trust walk.
Particpant sewing women in HROC and AVP workshops.
Particpant sewing women in HROC and AVP workshops.
Women with children in small group discussion.
Women with children in small group discussion.
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Project Leader:
David Zarembka
Kakamega, Kenya
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