In Kenya, International Peace Day is being celebrated with a plan: a plan to mitigate conflict through improved local governance.
IRI has been working with community leaders, local government officials, and county elders to understand and alleviate conflict in Kenya’s northwestern Baringo County. The major causes of inter-community conflict in this pastoral county are inadequate grazing space, limited availability of water, and boundary disputes. Baringo has experienced severe drought conditions recently and the different communities in the county have often clashed over land and resource usage. Claims of certain communities not returning to their original homes after the drought has further exacerbated the already tense situation in the county. Cattle rustling and encroachment on the land of different communities has often prompted the more violent clashes between communities.
In order to address these concerns, IRI gathered community leaders and farmers from each community, separately to discuss these and other concerns regarding the tense state in Baringo to try and understand the main points of tension and discuss possible solutions. Once the groups had met and discussed the county’s main challenges, the different communities were brought together to talk about shared concerns and shared solutions. They then met with local government officials to develop a strategic plan to solve the primary problems they all had identified and agreed upon. The community proposed grazing field management, inter-community dialogues, effective public service delivery, disarmament, equitable distribution of resources, and civic awareness campaigns as possible solutions to the county’s current conflicts. The joint group also asked that the county government be sensitive to the communities as they initiate development projects to ensure these projects are inclusive and beneficial to all communities.
Essential to any intervention and plan to address concerns is the buy-in and support from Baringo County community elders. To cap off the numerous discussions and planning sessions, IRI gathered leaders from each community to present their plans to local government officials and community elders at the International Peace Day celebration. “The elders let us help to implement the communities’ agreement on pasture management” urged Grace Yator, a Baringo County community leader. By connecting the different communities and linking them with their local government officials and elders, IRI helped the communities identify their points of commonality and utilize the elected and appointed officials tasked with alleviating conflict through more responsive governance. On this International Peace Day, Baringo County will celebrate a new sense of unity and collaboration and prepare to implement their plan to resolve local conflict and strengthen their communities.Top