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Building bridges between peace and planet through Collective Impact Initiative

This initiative proposes setting up a backbone organization to help build bridges between peace and planet

Photo of Timothy Gachanga
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Kenya urgently need to build bridges between peace and planet. This is because increasing poverty has led to overgrazing and over cultivation of land. This has resulted to deadly conflicts. Urbanization has seen natural forests and sites been sold or turned into commercial ventures. This has denied communities an opportunity to understand the link between peace and planet. African cultural artefacts that are embedded with cultural values that foster the connection between the peace and planet have also been exported or smuggled outside the country, hence denying the younger generation an opportunity to learn about this important connection. We are also losing at an alarming rate people who understand the true nature of the connection between peace and planet due to old age. Without sufficient records their memories and stories are gone forever. Globalization has also dealt a big blow to this link. Globalization is not sensitive to the inter-connectedness between peace and planet.

In a sense, we are in the process of losing the link between peace and planet earth, hence the need to build bridges. Neither modern school education nor the State has the capacity to give or replace this connection. It is vital that we bring together organizations to reflect on this challenge. Collective impact is relevant to bridging bridges between peace and planet because it creates an environment that encourages shared agendas, measurements and communication in this innovative realm of evolving technology.

Explain your idea

This initiative proposes setting up a backbone organization to help build bridges between peace and planet. This initiative is based on the premise that no single policy, governmental department, organization or programme can solve a complex challenge such as the intersections of peace, prosperity and planet. The initiative will bring together multiple organizations to abandon their own agendas in favour of a common agenda of finding a solution to the challenge, establish a shared measurement and align their efforts. These organizations include the Akamba peace museums, the Agikuyu peace museum, the Aembu peace museum, the Isukha peace museum, Pokot peace museum, Tharaka peace museum, Keiyo peace museum and the Abasuba peace museum. These organizations know each other well and have worked together previously. Unlike collaboration and partnership, the initiative will have a centralized infrastructure known as backbone organization with dedicated staff whose role is to help participating organizations shift from acting alone to act in concert. The function of the backbone organization will be: 1. Establish a common agenda for all the stakeholders 2. Set up tasks and establish a shared measurement 3.. Mobilize the community 4. Carry out regular consultations with the organizations and get their feedback as valued participators 5. Regularly consult with other organizations with more experience to enhance the quality of our output. Sustainability This initiative is specifically aimed at ensuring that Kenya build bridges between peace and planet. The context in which the backbone organization will be established makes such initiative imperative at this moment in our history. The emphasis on collective impact makes it likely that the initiative will be sustainable at community level. There is already substantial support from various organizations who have expressed their interest in joining the initiative. The long term experience of these organizations in research on peace building and relationships with communities qualifies the backbone organization to make a success of this initiative. There is also an excellent working relationship that exist between these organizations. For instance, in 2013 – 14, these organizations collaboratively developed a traveling exhibition “Journeys of Peace” (JoP) that ran for twelve-months. The project was funded through the Creative Force programme run by the Swedish Institute and was a collaboration between Cultural Heritage without Borders and the Community Peace Museums Foundation of Kenya. The exhibition reached over 4000 people across Kenya. Drawing on the deep tradition of peace building on the African continent through cultural artefacts and associated traditions, the project created spaces where dialogue between people in conflict could safely take place.

Who Benefits?

Communities, participating organization, government departments.

How is your idea unique?

This idea is unique in that it creates an environment that encourages shared agendas, measurements and communication. When dealing with complex challenges such as the intersections of peace, prosperity and planet, it is not enough for an organization to deliver results that contribute only to its bottom line. Collective impact encourages a common understanding and joint approach to solving problems through agreed upon outcomes. It also creates an environment where stakeholders hold each other accountable. In addition, activities are coordinated through a mutually reinforcing plan of action. Moreover, there is a consistent, continuous and open communication between the stakeholders and the backbone organization.

Idea Proposal Stage

  • Prototyping: I have done some small tests or experiments with prospective users to continue developing my idea.

Tell us more about you

The Community Peace Museums Heritage Foundation is a network of 17 community-based museums that work for peace through intercultural dialogue, social justice and transformation, capacity building and inclusive practice. Their method is based on both African traditional peace building and contemporary approaches to heritage as a force for democracy and human rights.

Expertise in sector

  • 7+ years

Organization Filing Status

  • Yes, we are a registered non-profit.


Join the conversation:

Photo of Beatrice

I have been travelling in East Africa since January 2017, conducting research into heritage education in Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda. I have spent time visiting community peace museums in Kenya including Akamba Peace Museum, Aembu Peace Museum and Isukha Peace Museum. I visited the sites of the museums and met the local communities interacting with the collections, including elders, local families and schools.

I was struck by the power of the collections to encourage the protection of the local environment in each individual community. Many of the peace museums hold peace trees within their collections, as well as cultural heritage objects produced from naturally occurring plant materials. The local community are reminded of the importance of their landscape in developing a sense of identity and peace for future generations. At Aembu the Peace Museum is instrumental in protecting local sacred sites including a forest of ancient trees.

Urbanisation is rapidly increasing in Kenya and emulation of western society is high on young people’s agendas, often to the detriment of engaging in and protecting their local natural landscape. A backbone organisation bringing together organisations to foster the connection between peace and planet is vital in Kenya’s current climate, and will be integral in supporting individual communities to make progress on their own.

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