SCS Global’s Strengthening Democratic Space in Kenya (SADES-K) project is supporting multiple strategies to prevent crime and violence through local partnerships and prevention efforts.
After the brutal insurgency of the Sabaot Land Defense Force in Mt. Elgon was crushed in 2010, many young insurgents went into hiding and continued to attack residents. SADES-K is partnering with the Rural Women Peace Link (RWPL) to ignite a reconciliation process between the youth and the rest of Mt. Elgon society.
In September 2019, RWPL convened the women’s Bunge (Parliament) focusing on threats in the community and recognizing that many youth needed urgent help. They led a three-day Trauma Healing and Counselling Workshop in October 2019 for 25 youth. According to Benson Mustuni, one of the ex-militia: “The women working with RWPL gave us our lives and families back…Today I am changed.” Benson now chairs Toywondet, a group of ex-militia who visit youth who have not surrendered, working to extend the reconciliation.
The Kisauni community in the touristic Mombasa County is also affected by juvenile gangs and rising crime. Some stakeholders say lack of trust between law enforcement and the community fuels gang activity; civil society groups claim police have committed extrajudicial killings of suspects.
Through the support of SADES-K, the Kenya Community Supports Centre (KECOSCE)—in collaboration with local CSOs, peace committees, community, youth organizations, women’s organizations, and national and county governments—organized an International Day of Peace event in Kisauni on September 21, 2019.
Community members and police officers took part in joint tree planting and dancing to indigenous music as a show of good faith to bridge the gap between them and signed a banner, pledging for peace.
The event also introduced an online platform for community and police engagement in Kisauni. Kisauni tumebadilika (or peace platform) is jointly hosted on a WhatsApp group by KECOSCE project staff and the area’s Deputy County Commissioner (DCC). Members can post security concern for joint response. Since September 25, 2019, more than 30 reports have been posted. Law enforcement has addressed some directly; the office of the DCC has organized community barazas to respond to others.