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Heifers for Peace

Promoting peace and social - economic inter dependence between rival ethnic groups in north west Kenya through children and heifers.

Photo of hilary halkano Bukuno
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Explain your project idea (2,000 characters)

North west Kenya has been crippled by perennial violence between ethnic pastoralists groups, whose livelihood and honor depend on livestock ownership. Tribal animosities and limited grazing space have fueled repeated cycles of violence, isolated villages, and perpetuated inter - ethnic fear. Loss of human life (Media reports showed that 54 people in 2017 died due to inter-tribal violence in Baringo and Samburu County) Loss of property, mainly livestock resources, displacements of families and disruption of economic activities such as farming and other livelihoods options and closure of schools are some of the negative and severe impacts of conflict on victims. The idea aims to resolve conflict between tribes in northwest Kenya by developing friendships between their children and building on this to resolve interethnic conflict and promote social – economic interdependence. The project will pair families from tribes whose children have formed strong friendships and provide the families with cows. The families will raise the cows together and donate offspring to each, thus reinforcing friendships and creating an economic incentive for sustained peace. Inter-ethnic pairing of children and their families, child and family homestay visits and exchange of gifts are strategies envisioned to connect rival tribes. The height of the project is to provide cows to paired families from rival tribes. A heifer can ease the economic burden on pastoralists family by offering them the opportunity to breed up to six calves and earn much-needed supplemental income through the sale of milk. By linking families through cows, the project will foster economic inter-dependence between the two tribes and give beneficiaries a real incentive to break the cycle of violence based on self-interest. Women and warriors whose children and siblings have formed friendship for peace will be connected through income generating ideas and engaged in business prospects.

Who are the beneficiaries? (1,000 characters)

School children age 10 – 15 and their families (Mothers, fathers and siblings including shepherds and warriors) who are residents of Samburu and Baringo counties in Kenya. Whose members are killed, their livestock and properties destroyed and are displaced, and whose schools are closed. Who are economically deprived and cannot access markets or other essential services such as food and health due to tribal animosity and violence. The idea will result in positive transformation of relationship between the tribes paired by children and families who benefit from increased interaction, hospitality and shared gifts. Sharing of conflict early warning information and prevention of attack on their friend’s tribes. Eradication of violence and cattle rustling, increase in number of herds from heifer for peace. sharing of water and grass and Inter ethnic business activities will serve as economic incentives. Children will benefit from Improved from enrollment and smooth transition in schools.

How is your idea unique? (1,000 characters)

The idea places children at the center of inter-ethnic reconciliation a departure from traditional practices where such roles were for adults. Existing literatures on children and conflict depicts children as victims of conflict in need of protection and support. The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child ((1989) strongly calls for measures to protect children. The other aspect is educating children to acquire knowledge and skills to resolve intra and inter personal conflict and to exist peacefully with each other (WV 2002). To Machel above aspects are welcome and valuable but fall short on a critical component of children’s rights: empowerment, stemming from an appreciation of children’s potential to have an impact on their world. (Machel, 1996). Our idea addresses this gap. The idea is grounded on making friendship a tool for transforming relationship between rival tribes. Cows that were object of conflict shall serve as a peace connector and an economic incentive.

Idea Proposal Stage (choose one)

  • Early Adoption: I have completed a pilot and analyzed the impact of that pilot on the intended users of the idea. I have begun to expand the pilot for early adoption.

Tell us more about your organization/company (1 sentence and website URL)

Children Peace Initiative Kenya (CPI Kenya) is a civil society initiative founded in 2011 to work in the field of conflict prevention and Peace Building with special focus on promoting children's participation in inter-community peace. CPI Kenya has executed more than 98 major peace activities with children, parents and teachers among six tribes in Kenya since inception with 7 full-time staff and 28 volunteers. For 3 years students from USA and Brazil worked with CPI as interns.

Expertise in sector

  • 5-7 years

Organization Filing Status

  • Yes, we are a registered non-profit.

In 3-4 sentences, tell us the inspiration or story that encouraged you to start this project.

In 2005 we visited people internally displaced by inter-tribal violence in Marsabit, Kenya. I was touched by their living condition. They lost everything they had and were depending on charities for survival. Children were sad and not playing. We then decided to cheer up the children by singing and playing with them. At the end they were all smiling and happy. This inspired me and my colleagues to think of how we can work with children to reconcile communities affected by inter-tribal conflict.

Please explain how your selected topic areas are influenced, in the local context of your project (1,000 characters).

Baringo and Samburu Counties in North Western Kenya have experienced decades of conflicts and violence pitting two or more tribal groups against each other. Tribal animosities and limited grazing space have fueled repeated cycles of violence, isolated villages, perpetuated inter - ethnic fear and disrupted peace in the region. Tribal groups at the center of this conflict include Pokot, Tugen, Ilchamus, Samburu, Marakwet and Turkana. The effect of hostility and war on the affected communities include; Loss of lives, loss of property, mainly livestock resources, displacements of families and disruption of economic activities such as farming and other livelihoods options. Thus, inter-ethnic tension and unrest continue to adversely affect prosperity of people trapped in tribal conflict in Baringo and Samburu Counties.

Who will work alongside your organization in the project idea? (1,000 characters)

The project idea shall be implemented with 2 set of rival ethnic groups in Baringo and Samburu region. The Pokot and Ilchamus in Baringo and Turkana and Samburu in Baragoi. Starting point for initiating the project idea are frontline villages which lie along the fault line of conflict and have borne the brunt of the violence. Schools in frontline villages to identify children who will participate in the project and establish initial connection with children of ethnic rival groups. Families and parents, especially mothers but fathers too will take part in exchange visits to rival tribe’s courtesy of their children’s, give permission, support children and receive heifers for peace. Village Elders play parental role and mediate and resolve emerging inter community issues. Government services and officials: Services (Health care) can encourage inter communal cooperation and officials key roles are giving out licenses, deciding policy, ensuring the safety of staff and supporting schools.

Please share some of the top strengths identified in the community which your project will serve (500 characters)

There are many young people who are available for development initiatives and engaging them in alternative livelihood will lead to peace and prosperity. There is willingness among the community to take children to school. There is great opportunity trade among the local community. Parts of the community land is arable and the community members can engage in farming as alternative livelihood.

Geographic Focus

Baringo and Samburu Counties in Kenya and the Pokot, Samburu, Ilchamus and Turkana ethnic groups.

How many months are required for the project idea? (500 characters)

The idea takes 32 months to execute. Inter-ethnic peace camps and exchange visits by children will be done the first 12 months. Families indirectly connected from the onset activities with children. End of first 12 months parents formally join children to partake in exchange visits and home stays. Business activities initiated in second year. Last quarter of year two Heifers for peace are distributed to strengthen peace and serve as economic incentive to families whose children are friends.

Did you submit this idea to our 2017 BridgeBuilder Challenge? (Y/N)

  • Yes

If Yes, how has project idea changed, grown, or evolved since last year? (2,000 characters)

In 2017 we couldn’t bring out so well the balance between building bridges and prosperity. In this year’s challenge we are giving economic interdependence as a tool for peace building more prominence to make clear that the project idea addresses both areas. Heifers for peace is at the Centre of the project idea alongside inter community business prospects that involves not only the women but also herders and warriors whose siblings partake in fostering peace between their families and other families of neighboring community. Thus, herders and warriors are direct beneficiaries of the project unlike in last year’s ideas. While the elders, especially the fathers to children involved in the project do take part in the project idea through informal interactions and engagement with children and family members with whom their sons and daughters have formed friendship and formally by accompanying the children during children and parents visits, they will be directly involved in dialogue on how to tackle emerging issues as custodians of the community and friends for peace family. We also did research on the project idea to give it scientific perspective and justify why the idea is innovative and necessary.
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Attachments (3)

Children Peace Initiative Kenya online link.docx

See attached a link to story published in Kenyan Daily Nation newspaper on how children and heifers for peace contribute to peace between rival tribes in Kenya.

Inter Community Children peace building program Presentation.pptx

See attached power point presentation on the findings of a collaborative research citing the impact of involving children in inter tribal reconciliation and peace and role of Heifers for Peace.

Heifers For Peace Report 2015.docx

See attached a short field report of the pilot heifers for peace handing over to paired Pokot and Samburu families whose children became friends in order to promote peaceful relationship between their tribes through families.

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Photo of Angi Yoder Maina

Leah Gage -- I knew I saw it and I knew it had to do with heifers! This is Jane's organization.