Peace Building and Conflict Resolution

When increasingly frequent armed conflicts between the agriculturalist Marakwet and the neighbouring half-nomadic Pokot menaced the results of the school-leaver project in Kerio-Valley (Kenya), we formulated a Peace & Justice Programme 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, we initiated a programme to improve the water supply situation in the ecologically marginalised settling regions of the Pokot. Another successful measure to increase confidence consisted of a scholarship programme, enabling pupils of the Pokot to attend the Marakwet secondary schools already supported in the first phase of the project.

In Cameroon, industrial exploitation of the tropical forest, increased commercial agriculture, and organised hunting has severely affected the nomadic lifestyle of the Pygmies. They are forced to a more sedentary life, suffering also from exploitation and disdain by neighbouring Bantu people. Our aim was to support Pygmies in this transition from a traditional nomadic to a semi-nomadic way of life, and to enable them to better integrate into the Bantu society. They were encouraged to decide themselves about forms and contents needed to change in the fields of education, primary health care and agricultural production.

In the Ngorongoro district of Tanzania, we have encountered a similar situation to the one of the Kerio valley: regularly occurring conflicts between pastoralists and agriculturalists among the ancient traditions of cattle rustling. The underlying reasons for those recurrent conflicts lie in land alienation by outside interests (wildlife protection, tourism and hunting). Already in 1996, we helped with the installation of the “Forum for Development and Solidarity”, a multi-ethnic informal institution of conflict resolution. At several occasions in the following years, especially in 2005 & 2006 our partner Francis Shomet Ole Naing’isa, then Planning Advisor of the Ngorongoro District Development Programme has actively been involved in mediation efforts. At the request of the district Commissioner, he facilitated an intercommunal workshop in 2006, which was documented by a short film.

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