According to security reports, Kinango sub-county and especially Kibandaongo village are hotspots when it comes to intergenerational conflicts and killings of elders under the pretext of witchcraft accusations. CPS partner Haki Yetu Organization has been involved in the mediation of similar conflicts in Kenya’s costal region for the last seven years. This is why the local administration of Kinango sub-county contacted us in 2020 and asked for our assistance.
Subsequently, we collaborated with the local administration to identify thirty peace grassroot actors and invited them to take part in trainings on alternative dispute resolution (ADR). ADR is an umbrella term for various methods to address the root causes of a dispute; in this case the rampant killings of the elders. During our trainings, the participants learned about various responses to conflict as well as techniques for peaceful negotiation and mediation. The activities were conducted by Haki Yetu staff, who also are accredited mediators, in April 2021.
One of the aims of these trainings is to challenge the narrative that women are organizing and facilitating the killings of men. Women also play a key role when it comes to connecting to their children and youth in general and they can heavily influence how these youth see and treat their own parents and older generations. Which is why we were very happy that around half of the participants in these trainings were female.
According to the residents of Kibandaongo, prior to our mediation efforts almost one person per month had been killed as a result of intergenerational conflicts. After the conclusion of our trainings, it has now been more than four months where no new incident related to allegations of witchcraft has been reported.
We were very happy when we recently received an email from the Assistant County Commissioner of Kinango sub-county, re-confirming the success of the trainings:
…This is to appreciate your organization for the several programs that you have organized in this division and the sub county as well. I would like to request that more similar programs be continued to reach more of our units since it has really empowered our community here.
After our sensitization meeting particularly in KIBANDAONGO sub location to village elders on their role on matters security, the impact has been really impressive. Since April, not a single case of the very disturbing murders have been reported in the sub location.
It is therefore my humble request that you consider facilitating similar trainings to village elders in other locations of this division…
(Simon Kipkemei Chepsiror, Assistant County Commissioner, Kinango division)
This is a great success story that shows the effectiveness of ADR and the importance of integrating women into the peace process. We hope that it encourages more sub-counties to implement similar measures and facilitate a peaceful, intergenerational dialogue. Please do not hesitate to write to us, if you would like to collaborate.