Isiolo as a town is no stranger to conflicts with one community fighting another over scarce resources and ethnic animosities. It has one of the highest concentrations of diverse ethnic groups with pastoralist backgrounds living in arid and semi-arid conditions with a long history of neglect and underdevelopment. Under such conditions the susceptibility to conflict and violence is ever too present and preventive efforts are always a more viable option.
GNRC Africa thus conducted a one day peace building workshop in Isiolo in a town in the upper eastern part of Kenya that has been home to quite a large number of Somali refugees, indigenous Kenyan Somalis, Boraana, Rendile, Samburu, and other smaller communities.
The workshop was opened by the Isiolo district officer (DO) Mr. Hilary K. Mibei, who urged the young participants to embrace new ideas, respect diversity and avoid drugs.
The overall objective of the workshop was to promote peace-building as a significant area of child and youth growth, development and education. Other objectives were to plant the seeds for collaboration between, and peaceful co-existence among children and young people from diverse background, establish avenues/spaces in which children and youth from different backgrounds can meet and interact to build a culture of peace, understand issues affecting children and youth that can lead to breach of peace and to promote the rights of children.
Role playing and group work was also used to transfer peace building skills to the participants. About 30 children were trained in this workshop.
The workshop was held at Al-Falah childrenís home which takes care of over 300 children majority of whom are orphans; as a result of communal conflict. Participation was quite satisfactory and there was a marked enthusiasm for the workshop especially as the worksho p progressed with some students even requested that the workshop be extended for another day.
The participants agreed to form two peace clubs namely the Isiolo Boys High school peace club and the Isiolo Girls High school peace club. They also endeavored to share the knowledge, information and skills on peace building that they had learned with their colleagues at the center and in their respective schools.