What is Kenya Tuna Uwezo?
Kenya Tuna Uwezo (Kiswahili for “We have the power!”) aims to reduce politically motivated conflict in the informal settlements of Kiambio, Kibera, Mathare, Korogocho, and Babadogo in Nairobi. The program strengthens community and civil society social networks and promotes collaboration on community issues and the resolution of grievances.
Project Duration and Budget
March 2012 – March 2014
Who implements Kenya Tuna Uwezo?
Kituo Cha Sheria (Center for Legal Empowerment)
Where does Kenya Tuna Uwezo work?
In Nairobi’s Kiambio, Kibera, Mathare, Korogocho and Babadogo informal settlements.
What does Kenya Tuna Uwezo do?
The Kenya Tuna Uwezo project is designed to reduce ethnic and politically-motivated conflict in the informal settlements of Nairobi. It creates opportunities for cooperative action among conflicting groups in Nairobi’s informal settlements.
Strengthening social networks
The project is initiating dialogue on shared concerns among at-risk groups in order to build relationships, increase trust and create lines of communication vital to promoting and sustaining peace.
A key component is to expand knowledge of the 2010 Constitution to empower marginalized communities to engage their leaders in making informed decisions. The program supports civic education and addresses common concerns to support community-led responses to internal issues and conflicts.
Kenya Tuna Uwezo is developing the technical and organizational capacity of community based organizations and officials, ensuring the sustainability of program activities and training community leaders and groups to work effectively with one another across ethnic lines.
How has Kenya Tuna Uwezo made a difference?
Kenya Tuna Uwezo has reached more than 4,500 residents from the targeted settlements through trainings, workshops, meetings and public information campaigns on peace and community cohesion and civic education on the Constitution of Kenya. Over 729 people, mainly youth have been reached with peace and reconciliation messages.
The program has facilitated the transformation of an estimated 100 youth into law abiding community resource people. Rival youth groups that played an active role in the 2008 post-election violence, have resolved issues through a series of informal discussions aimed at building trust and confidence.
In total, five single-identity meetings and one cross-identity meeting have been held. Single identity forums were comprised of youth, elders, tenants and landlords. Cross-identity forums were held for youth and elders, and landlords and tenants.
The program conducted trainings on conflict mediation, introducing 24 local organizations to the concepts of peace building, conflict analysis tools and early warning/early response strategies.
Over 100 women are engaged in peace promotion to women and youth, ensuring that families make peace discussions part of their family commitments. Twenty-six additional women leaders were trained on the Constitution, peace building and conflict management.
Kenya Tuna Uwezo has aired six radio talk shows educating people on the Constitution and peace messaging.
What key challenges does Kenya Tuna Uwezo face?
Challenges of mistrust and hatred are localized to specific ethnic groups while other groups in the same area interact peacefully and band together in cases of violent conflict. This interaction can easily shift through incitement and manipulation by politicians and business people, as evidenced in the 2008 post-election violence.
Youth unemployment still remains a challenge. Providing alternative forms of livelihood are critical to ensure that they are not tempted by manipulation and incitement by politicians and other powerful persons within the community.
For more information:
Selline Korir, Director
Kenya Tuna Uwezo Program
CHF International/ Kenya
Tel: +254 (20) 2101312/3
Monica Azimi, AOR
Office of Democracy and Governance
Kenya Tuna Uwezo in action
The informal settlement of Kiambiu, bore the brunt of the post-election violence that spread throughout Nairobi in 2007 and 2008, and residents have divided themselves emotionally and physically among ethnic and party lines. The youth have formed gangs based on their ethnic identity and they engage in violent and criminal activity against each other and throughout Kiambiu.
The Kenya Tuna Uwezo Project, brought together youth from the “Taliban” and “Mungiki” gangs and engaged them in the first of many cross-identity dialogues. Both gangs played a major role in the post-election violence, and during this dialogue, youth on both sides confessed their engagement in violent activities against one another. Members of both gangs admitted that they had been misused by politicians and elders. They committed to work together to ensure that the violent conflict that took place in 2007/8 does not happen again.
“This is an important day for me, we have never met youths at this magnitude … those ethnic demarcations are destroyed today,” says Mwangi, a Kiambui youth.
Kenya Tuna Uwezo uses various techniques to strengthen and inspire dialogue among inter-ethnic communities. Methods include silent diplomacy, shuttle mediations, role modeling, human relationship mapping, inter-village conflict mapping and analysis, and cell phone ‘caucuses’ with influential youth and community leadership. The program focuses on building avenues for peaceful coexistence in communities affected by violence, and is succeeding in breaking down the deep mistrust and enmity between these groups through meaningful dialogue.
Today, the youth from all six villages of Kiambiu are going through the challenging experience of confronting the violence and conflict in their pasts. In order to move forward and to continue to build peace with each other, youth from all different ethnic groups are organizing various activities such as football tournaments. Through these processes, people who were once disconnected by hostility are slowly reconnecting. Youth once at odds with the local government are now holding roundtable discussions and escalating their grievances peacefully to district level officials. Disconnected communities are opening up to one another and strategizing collectively on how to improve their community.
Updated April 2013
Last updated: April 17, 2013