Peace and Justice for Kerio Valley

Agricultural education and ethnic dialogue for peace in Kenya

  • Sectors: Vocational training, Livestock development, Peace enhancement
  • Duration: 10/1992 – 12/2001
  • Volume: 0.9 Mill. Euro
  • Persons/ Months: 36
  • Client: Austrian Development Cooperation, Ministry dor Foreign Affairs, Vienna
  • Partner: Diöcese of Eldoret
  • A school project was carried out in the Kerio Valley from 1993 to 2001. The training programme started in three secondary schools on the side of the river inhabited by the Marakwet. Since the main part of the population is living from agriculture, integration of agronomic and livestock issues into the regular curriculum was promoted. The new activities included the establishment of irrigation systems, fruit cultivation, fencing-in of fields and the construction of cowsheds and stables for small animal breeding. After some years the boarding schools were able to cover the main part of their food needs themselves. Surpluses could be sold on the market.

    Agricultural education was focussing on practical issues, and pupils carried the obtained knowledge onto their parental farms, thus providing a realistic alternative to lacking employment in the region.

    Subsequently, attention was directed to economically strengthen “school leavers” and to support their self-organisation in youth groups by way of a micro-credit programme. Because of increasingly frequent armed conflicts with the neighbouring half-nomadic Pokot, this could be achieved only partially.

    Instead, the Peace and Justice Programme was formulated in accordance with the local population that showed to be successful after three years already. The basic concept was to re-establish the dialogue between representatives of both ethnical groups. Neighbourhood meetings as well as cultural and sport events were organised for that purpose. In order to prop these discussion platforms economically, a programme to improve the water supply situation in the ecologically marginalised settling regions of the Pokot was initiated.

    Another successful measure to increase confidence consisted of a scholarship programme, enabling pupils of the Pokot to attend the Marakwet secondary schools that were supported in the first phase of the project.

    The contribution of Austroprojekt was very intensive at the beginning of the project (one long-term expert). Later on, it consisted of periodical advisory through experts in the socio-economic fields. Since the end of the project, advisory service is given through the personnel of the Diocese of Eldoret.

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