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Pokot- Turkana Pastors Forum

 

Transforming young people involved in conflicts in northern Kenya is a story that lives to be told by many Non Government Organizations (NGOs) who have experienced the long-drawn-out conflicts among pastoral communities in the region. It has taken many years to get to break the cycle of conflicts in the region; it has taken long to notice that an aspect of transforming the mind of a young person (commonly referred to as Moran) involved in cattle rustling[1] is enough to realize this breakthrough. The role of the church and pastors in conflict resolution and management in the region has increasingly taken a significant role over the years. Through the Pokot- Turkana Pastors Forum, warriors have been mobilized, demobilized and reintegrated into the communities with amazing success stories.

 

The transformed young people are called reformed warriors, and are target groups in

Peace Building by World Vision Kenya through the North Rift Peace Project (NORRIP). Intervention strategies involve strengthening their livelihoods through, awareness creation and trainings on peacebuilding and conflict management and Income Generating Activities (IGAs). My observation through the life of the project (NORRIP) is that most of the reformed warriors listen, respect and trust church leaders more than community local leaders. The pastors have been persistently urging the warriors to change and shun conflicts which include cattle rustling, armed robbery, imbalance in resource allocation, conflicts over contested boundaries and shared resources like pasture and water. It takes time, patience and continuous persistence to get the warriors fully reformed. This is how the WVK peace project came to work more closely with the pastors’ forums in reforming the warriors and identifying already reformed warriors for support with IGAs. So far, 76 reformed warriors have been supported with IGAs by WVK peace project between 2009 and 2011.

Impact of pastors forums in lives of young people

Income Generation-support to reformed warriors as alternative livelihoods

 

In identifying reformed warriors to be given alternative livelihoods, we came across many stories that caught our attention. One of the stories is about Lokomol (not his real name), a reformed warrior from Central Pokot.

 

Lokomol and fellow reformed warriors in a water pump demonstration session of their training

 

“My name is   Lokomol, I am 20 years old. I dropped school while I was in class three (lower primary school). I come from Sarmach location in Central Pokot. I used to track foot for livestock[1] and human beings to inform where animals are and where the enemy is; whenever there is a raid, I can tell where the animals have been headed to. I have been leading teams from my side to track our stolen animals or conduct a revenge following an attack “

“I don’t know how to read and write!” Lokomol expressed shyly. “Maadam, may be you can teach me how to read and write so that I can boldly express my name in writing. “ That is what Lokomol and his fellow warriors felt. 

 

Just why did Lokomol drop out of school? He says, “My father advised me to drop school immediately and assist him in reading and tracking foot prints following increased cattle raids to our community by our neighbours, the Turkana Community.” He added, “That was a noble career for me.”

 

In identifying livelihood types best suited for them, Lokomol seemed to have made up his mind. “I have identified the kind of business I would like to engage in. I want to buy and sell animals-goats, cattle or camels, whatever the start up capital will allow.”

 

So what will Lokomol be busy with? “I will be busy running from one market place to another. I plan to employ one more ex-warrior to assist me in the business.”

 

“Indeed, if Lokomol is no longer tracking feet, then his team will follow suite to where he is because he is a role model to other Morans,” Said Chief, Sarmach location, Central Pokot district. The Chief added, “Indeed, we are humbled to see lifestyles of young people like Lokomol undergo complete change to a positive lifestyle that can create financial independence in their lives.  What is even most encouraging about Lokomol and his team is that they can still accept basic social rules, unlike other hard to deal with reformed warriors; this is because Lokomol has been attending some Pastors crusades for peace, it has really transformed them. We just need more of these pastors talking to the reformed warriors who seem not to have made up their minds.”

 

 



[1] Foot tracking is an Indigenous Science through which particular individuals have the ability to identify a foreign (human and/or animal) foot print of an enemy. This assists in follow up and recovery of raided animals as well as warning the community of the presence of enemies.



[1] Cattle rustle is a form of conflict in which communities raid and steal each other’s cattle usually with the use of guns leaving behind many casualties, loss of lives, and animals as well displacement of people. Reformed Warriors on a farming session

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Comment by Evans Onyiego on May 30, 2011 at 17:09
The pastors forum, conduct respect from the pastoralists communities, i have personally worked with the group and i have seen the team transforming once raiders to peace makers. The group is working in an environment which is highly politicised and the church remains as the only actor which can be trusted. Even when  the violence was very high the group never gave up but countinued engaging the community and persistently campaigning for peace. The group has been very instrumental in advocacy initiatives across the three communities and building the capacity of the community of the community in demanding for their own rights. The pastors forum is a source o hope and development in the northern region, infact it is more powerful that even the government. Their approach of transforming peoples mentality is the solution to the pastoralist conflicts. Indeed their success is due to the fact that they consider the communities they work with as equals and therefore reduce the suspiscion which has made most of the organisations to fail.
Comment by adel alfetiry on June 13, 2012 at 22:59
تسعى منظمة مجموعة حريات للتنمية وحقوق الانسان الى اشاعة ثقافة حقوق الانسان والدعوة الى السلام ومعالجة اسباب النزاعات والصراعات المسلحة عن طريق برامج مركز حريات لنشر وتعليم ثقافة حقوق الانسان ونعمل على ادماج المقاتلين فى برامج التوعية وادماج رجال الشرطة والجيش والامن وجهاز القضاء فى برامج التدريب على حقوق الانسان من اجل بناء ثقافة السلام وحقوق الانسان فى ليبيا

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