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The 'Matatu' of Peace Storybook; A medium for strengthening inter-communal cooperation, understanding and collective responsibility.

My contribution is a children's storybook that will transform the mindset of children by inspiring a new narrative for sustainable peace.

Photo of Vyonne Akoth
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Explain your project idea (2,000 characters)

Our project idea is a children's online and offline story book that will promote inter-communal cooperation, ethnic tolerance, sustainable peace and development. Our goal is to nurture and inspire a new generation of ethical, accountable, responsible and pragmatic leaders with integrity. We will empower children with skills, knowledge and information on societal values, conflict management and peace-building through storytelling and fun filled informal learning workshops. Our animated storybook will be illustrated through the symbolism of a 'Matatu'. A 'matatu' is a minibus serving as shared taxi for transportation, mostly within the city. It is decorated and feature portraits of famous people, slogans and sayings. As a mode of transportation, it brings people together irrespective of their ethnicity, race, culture or age. When people bode a matatu, they are normally headed towards the same direction. It can be a bit stressful, but mostly a fun way for young people to commute because of its colorful decorations and cool music. It is a strong representation of Kenyan culture. Kenya today is faced by a myriad of challenges that have the potential of derailing development and putting communities against each other. In the recent past, children have been victims of violence, environmental degradation and corruption. During the 2017 general elections, children were victims of stray bullets during demonstrations. We have seen children demonstrate for land meant for their school. Children have also been victims of blocked drainage and sewage systems preventing them from going to school and exposing them to water borne diseases. Our project will use story telling through informal workshops to addressing environmental degradation, counter negative ethnic and religious prejudice and teach good governance skills and knowledge as a prerequisite for sustainable peace and development, as well as inspire good leadership for future generations to come.

Who are the beneficiaries? (1,000 characters)

Our beneficiaries are children ages 5 - 11 and members of their community who have experienced the negative effects of poor governance, negative ethnicity, inter-communal conflicts and environmental degradation. We will also engage youth 18 to 25 years of age who will contribute in leading story telling sessions. Our project will be implemented in Nairobi, Kenya. We look forward to rolling it out all over the country in the near future

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

Our idea is different from other initiatives because we are using an innovative strategy to capture the attention of children, by instilling ethical and value based lessons for a better future in a fun way. Our innovative strategy is tangible and can be brought to life because our product will be a real storybook that will be made accessible to children. With adequate financial resources, it will be possible to also have a 'Matatu' in place, decorated with peace messages and installed with tools to teach sustainable peace and development lessons. Our organizations has a unique advantage to implement this idea because we work with children and youth who are our main beneficiaries. Another organization might be addressing this need by teaching peace in a classroom setting. This approach reduces the interest of children because they see it as a formal lesson. Our approach is more practical, fun and an impact-full way of teaching sustainable peace and environmental conservation.

Idea Proposal Stage (choose one)

  • Initial Design: I am exploring the idea, gathering the inspiration and information I need to test it with real users.
  • Prototype: I have done some small tests or experiments with prospective users to continue developing the idea.

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

Impart Change is a local non-profit organization that uses art and technology as a communication tools to champion peace and promote violence prevention among children and and youth in local communities. Our organization uses non-formal education to empower children and youth with conflict management, violence prevention and peace building skills, knowledge and information.

Expertise in sector

  • 3-5 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.

I was inspired to start this project after participating in a fellowship program in Washington DC, 2017. It was the Community Solutions Fellowship (CSP) Program. As part of my fellowship, I worked with the Little Friends for Peace (LFFP). An organization that uses unique and innovative strategies to teach peace to small children. My experience in Washington DC, compared to working in Nairobi showed me that children from low income communities faced similar challenges. That was my inspiration.

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

Bad governance is a cause of inter-communal conflicts. Its outcome is poor resource management and environmental degradation. Nairobi faces serious water shortage. When water is not managed well, communities engage in unhealthy competition for the resource, which becomes an underlying course of violent conflicts. There is poor garbage disposal by garbage collection companies and individuals. This leads to blockage of sewers which threatens the well-being of community members. These among other underlying issues like ethnic intolerance are dire threats to sustainable peace in many local communities, putting them at risks of engaging in communal conflicts. Conflicts brought about by bad governance, competition for resources and services, and ethnic conflict sustained by ethnically endorse rouge leaders. The negative outcome of living in environments where needs of community members are not met normally come out during electioneering period were communities experience rampant violence.

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

Our organization is a community based organization that works in partnership with like-minded organizations and individual partners to implement our projects. Some of the partners we have worked with include the Young Men Christian Association (YMCA), the Hawkers Market Girls Centre (HMGC), Tukuka Kenya, and Youth leaders from Majengo and Mathare Community. We will continue engaging these partners in the pilot phase of our project. Other new partners we will include are; St Paul's University Peace and Conflict Studies Students, 2 Community Chiefs, 3 primary schools in the pilot phase of the project, 3 religious and local leaders in our community.

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

We have a strong relationship with our community members. I would also like to share that our community has a lot of children, youth and stakeholders who are eager to learn and change their environment or the status quo for the better. They are also very excited and willing to work on the pilot phase of the project.

Geographic Focus

Our project will be implemented in Nairobi, Kenya. It will focus on Baba ndogo and Mathare zones.

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

Our project will be implemented with within a 24 month timeline.

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

  • No


Join the conversation:

Photo of Sandra

Hi Yvonne, great idea! I was drawn to your submission as I am also trying to tackle environmental education in a fun interactive way to bridge the current disonnect we have with youth and conservation. My approach is based more on using technology and establishing eco- communities. Storytelling is a great avenue to pursue. Would be happy to collaborate or help out in any way possible. I have worked in early childhood education and would be happy to contribute to your sessions where possible. I have also been working on a couple of books based on wildlife conservation for kids - publishing is always an issue though... All the best.

Photo of Vyonne Akoth

Hallo Sandra,

Thank you so much for your kind words. I would be delighted to collaborate. We have to find innovative ways of ensuring we protect our environments for future generations to come. Are you based in Nairobi?

Photo of Sandra

Hi Yvonne, yes I am Nairobi based - you can reach me on and/or 0701 035 543

Photo of David MUYAI OTIENO

Thanks for taking the initiative. The use of Matatu concept is truly powerful and reflective about the Kenya. I feel it intrinsically does reflect the true nature of using to tell a story is just so beautiful. The symbolism of a 'Ma3 is so real and I do agree that it brings people together irrespective of their ethnicity, race, culture or age and that is it is a strong representation of Kenyan culture. Congratulations.

Photo of Charles Betterton, MSCED

Welcome and thank you Vyonne for sharing your vision, expertise and idea! I believe there have never been richer opportunities to utilize the power of digital and print publishing, especially in conjunction with online programs, to share valuable information AND create the supportive "community" and culture that encourages personal growth and development. That is certainly applicable to your project. My associates and I who are establishing a collaborative publishing and marketing company ( have been actively involved acquiring contacts and expertise in every area of publishing, training, and marketing and there are a couple of resources that you MIGHT find helpful. (By the way, if you could use any assistance exploring publishing options, please let me know.)

Through attending several training programs with Author Youniversity, I have been blessed to get to know Joan McWilliams, author of The PeaceFinder: Riley McFee's Quest for World Peace. It includes a special section on The Eight Steps to World Peace that is the most comprehensive overview I have ever read. Actually because of the relevance to all three priority focus areas of Peace, Prosperity AND Planet, I highly recommend this book to every contributor to the Bridgebuilder Challenge!

Here are excerpts from the inside book jacket: The Conscious Road to Peace. Revealing, educational, simple and wise! The Peace Finder takes you on the conscious road to peace and extends hope to the world. Joan McWilliams combines the magic of poetry with the practicality of a "how to" handbook to provide an answer to the most important question of our time: Can all people unite to make peace a reality? The answer is a resounding "YES!" For anyone who believes that world peace is vital to our survival, The Peace Finder offers a positive way to contribute valuable energy to the solution. A Life without violence. . . WE can make that happen! Be a PeaceFinder!

Another resource I invite you to explore is the free Becoming a Peace Master course developed by Scott and Shannon Peck of The Love Center ( While their video based training is not as applicable to reaching youth as The PeaceFinder, you may still find it a useful supplemental resources for your programs. Good luck and best wishes for your Ultimate Success!

PS. I decided to share my review on Amazon because it lists the eight steps. FIVE STARS! Beautifully Simple and POWERFUL Guidebook for World Peace, one PeaceFinder at at time and That's YOU! September 21, 2017

In her award-winning book The Peace Finder Joan McWilliams provides an answer to the most important question of our time: Can all people unite to make peace a reality? The answer is a resounding, "Yes!"

Joan has expanded the techniques that she uses in her mediation practice and has taught as an adjunct professor of dispute resolution. She has added scientific ideas and traditional global wisdom to devise a way by which we can find common ground and establish worldwide peace. Will the change be immediate? It could be! It is more likely, however, that this method will take hold quietly until a critical mass of Peace Finders is reached. At that point, peace will become the rule rather than the exception. For anyone who believes that world peace is vital to our survival, The Peace Finder offers a positive way to contribute valuable energy to the solution. A life without violence? We can make that happen! YOU can make that happen when and as YOU become a Peace Finder and this beautiful little book will help you do so!

This "How to Guidebook for Personal and Planetary Peace" introduces The Eight Steps to World Peace that can help anyone anywhere become a Peace Finder. They are remarkably simple, very effective, and will transform your view of the world and your place in the world. You are a Peace Finder, and peace will happen if you:

1. Open your heart, your mind, and your soul to the possibility that we can achieve world peace. Change your life script. Create a new paradigm.

2. Use your mind and think peace. Visualize a world without war. Believe that it will happen. Expect peace.

3. Think with your heart as well as your mind. Add emotion to your thoughts of peace.

4. Bring soul to your thoughts. Allow your soul to align with your heart and your mind. Focus all your attention on your desire for world peace.

5. Let your thoughts go. Let them fly. Let them sail. Let them carry the message that peace will prevail.

6. Work with skeptics. Show them how to be open to the possibility that peace can be achieved.

7. Join with other people to create a pandemic of peace. Be the Hundredth Monkey!

8. Be a Peace Participant. Take actions that support your thoughts for peace.

Photo of Angi Yoder Maina

Vyonne Akoth 

I bet Story Moja would be interested in working with you to publish this type of book. Have you talked to them as a potential publisher? As a mother to two Kenyan daughters, I love your passion and your vision.


Photo of Vyonne Akoth

Hallo Angi,

Great to hear from you. We met at the US Institute of Peace in Washington DC at the 2017 US - Africa Partnership Symposium. My stories are almost done. I am in the editing and reviewing phase. Thank you so much for the advice. I will definitely look into it. I am now in Nairobi and look forward to linking up soon.

Photo of Angi Yoder Maina

Vyonne Akoth 

This is why you looked SOOO familiar. I was really wondering! Send me an email: and we can have a coffee. I would love to introduce you to Wambui of Story Moja.