Institute for Peace and Justice

Contact: Daniel Orth
Phone: (619) 260-4066
Fax: (619) 260-7570

Location: KIPJ Suite 119
Joan B. Kroc School of Peace Studies
5998 Alcala Park
San Diego, CA 92110

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Joan B. Kroc Institute for Peace and Justice


Our Work in the Field: Violence Prevention

Ombok Teaching in Kilimambogo 2016

The violence prevention project in Kenya is a partnership between the Institute for Peace and Justice (IPJ) and local partner Chemchemi Ya Ukweli (CYU), a community-based peacebuilding organization that operates throughout the country to reduce levels of violence in through active non-violence, interreligious dialogue, and community mobilization. 

The primary goal of the project is to reduce the incidence of violent conflict in the country, primarily in the Nairobi communities of Mathare, Korogocho and Kibera, by encouraging dialogue between parties in conflict, facilitate cooperation within communities and by building community capacity in violence prevention. Most recently the project has focused on improving youth-police-community relations by building a team of community change agents equipped with skills like mediation, communication, leadership, and resource mobilization to resolve conflicts in their communities. The project is also working to change attitudes about "the other" for youth and police through cooperative activities and opportunities for shared problem-solving.

Recent Project Activities

IPJ Director Dee Aker and Program Officer Daniel Orth traveled to Kenya in February 2016 to conduct a three-day training with 14 youth leaders from Nairobi communities. The training focused on mediation, communication, local resource mobilization, and active non-violence. Additionally, in an effort to improve youth-police relations, Orth and CYU staff met with officials from the Kenya National Police Service, conversations that will inform the shape of IPJ and CYU work moving forward.

Youth Group Meeting with Jessica

The IPJ's current work in Kenya is partially informed by research conducted by a graduate student from the Joan B. Kroc School of Peace Studies during the summer of 2015 who interned with CYU. These research findings formed the basis for a strategic planning session with local partners and other stakeholders held in August 2015 with IPJ Program Officers Zahra Ismail and Daniel Orth. 

Project History

In 2012, the IPJ, in partnership with CYU and another local organization, Cissta Kenya, conducted a baseline survey to map public perceptions of violence and the root causes of conflict in each community and provided an intensive training of trainers (TOT) with volunteers from each of the target communities. The trainings covered skills and tools in conflict resolution, violence mitigation, community mobilization and action planning, and strategies for civic engagement.

Over the month of March 2012, the TOT participants conducted two-day trainings in their respective communities focused on building an understanding of conflict and violence and addressing issues of conflict in their communities in order to reduce the risk of violence.

Training participants engaged in group discussion

In April 2012, IPJ Program Officer Zahra Ismail returned to Nairobi to conduct follow-up trainings with community participants to identify risk issues in each community, and to begin to develop prevention strategies and contingency plans to respond to these issues when they arise.

In November 2012, in response to an identified need to address the tenuous relationship between youth and security actors, the institute and its partners hosted a two-day forum entitled Building Alliances: Working Together to Prevent Violence. The forum brought youth and community participants together with high-level members of civil society, government and police to build bridges and develop collaborative plans for mitigating violence in time for the March 2013 elections. Ismail then served as a short-term election observer with the Carter Center's International Election Observation Mission to Kenya.

Ismail returned to Kenya in February 2015 at the request of partner organization CYU to explore possibilities for expanding and deepening relations between youth and police. 

The institute plans to continue the dialogue process started between youth, security actors, and their communities in Nairobi as new funding is secured.

For more information about the institute’s work in Kenya, please contact Program Officer Daniel Orth.