HODI Peace Field
Marsabit County in Northern Kenya, which is afflicted by tribal conflicts and in the recent past we have seen the conflict escalate further and further. The clashes have left a trail of destruction which includes human death, destruction of properties, human displacement, trauma and psychological disturbance Children have not been spared either some lost their dear life; schools were destroyed and learning came to a halt. As HODI we use football as a tool for social change under our program of Shoot to Score not to Kill we engage the youths not to take up guns and kill each other. Ours is a proactive engagement of the children to help break away from the cycle of violence. We play home and away football games and experience the ‘enemy tribe’ first hand and help the children form an independent decision. Our children are trained as peace ambassadors equipped with skills of conflict transformation and how to deal with violence at personal level. They learn about fair play and the reward for it both as individual and as a team and that violence has no benefit to them. The project continues to benefit over 1000 children armed with guns and hatred for other tribes as a neutral safe space where Football replaces the gun, battle field is replaced by Peace Field, while the Peace Ambassadors replace fierce warriors. Also a safe space for young girls rescued from marriages, early pregnancies and drop outs from school. The initiative has seen girls break the silence on other issues among them FGM, Early Marriage and Early pregnancies.
One young boy reckoned ‘ohhh I don’t have to be scared of the motorbikes crossing the field of play it is safe now and I can just play’.
The Children in HODI are overjoyed as they set foot on the HODI Peace Field, the joy cannot be hidden and most were grateful we now have a space to call our own.
It is a new dawn, we are over joyed with the new developments and each of you helped us take this step. In October 2014 we acquired the Title Deed for the land on which HODI Peace Center will STAND. You have not only given us the space for children to play but also a safe space where they can transform to be non-violent and learn about resolving conflict and peaceful coexistence. We owe the HODI Peace Field to each of you for your individual contributions, for inviting your family and friends to contribute. Our gratitude also goes out to The Pam Dahlgren Hope through Education Award for education by FAWCO and Stuttgart Peace Award.
While we have the Peace field and a safe space for children to play, our DREAM is to build an even safer and bigger house that will be the HODI Peace Center. It will be big enough to house the girls saved from early forced marriages; big enough to train peace ambassadors. As HODI we will definately keep you posted on the progress of this project, with each step of the way.
In the meantime, time to go and clear the bushes in the Peace Field!
Breaking the Silence using football