Participants at workshop in Kakuma Refugee Camp. Notice that the “walls” are only plastic UNHCR sheets.

As part of your Christmas giving, I would appreciate it if you would give consideration to donations to Transforming Community for Social Change and Friends Church Peace Teams (Kenya). To learn the ways to donate go to https://transformingcommunitiesforsocialchange.wordpress.com/donate-2/. Thanks. Please forward this Report to those whom you think might be interested in supporting our peacemaking and reconciliation work in western Kenya.

If you live in Kenya, you can donate through M-Pesa.

Gladys and I receive no compensation for the peacemaking work we do in East Africa as we consider this our civic duty. Therefore, unlike other organizations that gobble up some (or in other cases, a lot) of their donations in administration in the US, the total amount of your donation to TCSC will go directly to the work in Kenya.

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2017 has been a difficult year for Kenya due to the unrest caused by the election campaigning during most of the year. There has been a considerable amount of election violence – tensions, hate speech, ethnic cleansing, property destruction, and deadly conflicts. The staff and facilitators of Transforming Community for Social Change (TCSC) and Friends Church Peace Teams (Kenya) (FCPT) have been overwhelmed with the need for response. Here are some of the major peacemaking/reconciliation activities that TCSC/FCPT has been involved in during this year.

Getry Agizah, FCPT and TCSC coordinator, conducting an AVP workshop.

1. Kawangware slum in Nairobi: After October 26 and 27 when ten people were killed and many shops and houses burned in ethnic violence, the Luhya association in Kawangware urgently invited Getry Agizah to come to Nairobi to facilitate listening sessions with the victims of the violence to forestall revenge attacks. This is the kind of violence, if left unchecked, could lead to an explosion of violence in Kenya.

Erastus Chesondi, the lead facilitator/organizer of the Mt. Elgon Peace Centre.

2. Mt Elgon murders: When strong Mt. Elgon Peace Centre supporter, Robert Juma, was assassinated along with his driver and a bystander and houses were burnt in retaliation, TCSC responded immediately to calm the community with listening sessions. In a very tense meeting Getry Agizah, Erastus Chesondi, and a relative of Robert Juma met with the men responsible for the murders and received their commitment not to conduct any more killings. While this was not justice for Robert Juna, it stopped further killings in the area.

Peter Serete facilitating workshop in Kakuma Refugee Camp.

3. Kakuma Refugee Camp: With the continuing violence in South Sudan, Burundi, and the eastern Congo the number of refugees in the camp continues to increase. There are frequent conflicts between people of the different nationalities. Peter Serete, responsible for the work in Kakuma, has traveled there more than once to consult with AVP and HROC facilitators that TCSC/FCPT has trained to initiate activities to calm down the violent, sometimes deadly, conflicts.

Ezra Kigondu leading a citizen reporter training before recent Kenyan elections.

4. Mautuma: In this community less than 10 miles from our house, a politically and tribally based murder and retaliation of the burning of houses occurred. Ezra Kigondu who lives in this community and has intervened in other conflicts in the community responded by organized listening sessions, AVP and HROC workshops, and community dialogues.

5. Other activities: These were just the crisis activities TCSC/FCPT was involved in this year. There were the other more routine activities:

  • Training and re-training over 1000 citizen reporters
  • Continuing the development of the Mt. Elgon Peace Centre including income generating activities with crops, cows, and motorcycle taxis
  • Responding to hate speech and ethnic cleanings during the elections
  • Supporting Resilient Women in Africa to conduct HROC workshops in women’s prisons.
  • Sending facilitators to the HROC International Trainings in Rwanda, mentoring HROC facilitators in Lira, Uganda and Bor, South Sudan.

It would be nice to think that the end of the election cycle would be bringing peace and stability to Kenya. On the contrary the August 8 election and the October 26 re-vote not only did not solve anything, but has increased the divisions and tensions in the country. Moreover peaceful coexistence in a community TCSC/FCPT has worked in that has been beset by violence needs long-term rehabilitation so TCSC/FCPT’s work will continue. Undoubtedly other incidents of violence will occur in the coming year in the western area of Kenya where TCSC/FCPT concentrates its efforts.

This is why I ask you to consider TCSC/FCPT in your annual giving. You can donate directly to general funds which will be used as most needed or you can designate your donation on the memo line as follows:

  1. Mt. Elgon Peace Centre
  2. Kakuma Refugee Camp
  3. Emergency response to violence
  4. Traditional Samburu warriors
  5. Women prisoners

If you have any questions please feel free to contact me at davidzarembka@gmail.com. Thanks again.

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To be added to or removed from this listserve, please send your name and email address to davidzarembka@gmail.com.

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DONATE

To learn Ways to Donate go to https://transformingcommunitiesforsocialchange.wordpress.com/donate-2/

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From 1998 to 2016, David Zarembka was the Coordinator of the African Great Lakes Initiative of the Friends Peace Teams. He continues his peacemaking work in East Africa with Transforming Communities for Social Change (TCSC) and Friends Church Peace Team (FCPT). He has been involved with East and Central Africa since 1964 when he taught Rwandan refugees in Tanzania. David is married to Gladys Kamonya and lives in western Kenya. David is the author of A Peace of Africa: Reflections on Life in the Great Lakes Region. He is an analyst on eastern Africa issues for TVC News in Lagos, Nigeria.

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David Zarembka

Transforming Community for Social Change (TCSC)

Phone 254 (0)726 590 783
Reports from Kenya: www.davidzarembka.com/

Email: davidzarembka@gmail.com

Webpage: transformingcommunitiesforsocialchange.wordpress.com/

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