Violence Prevention in Kenya

Changing narratives, building communities.

The Challenge

In 2007, a contentious presidential election pitched Kenya into a political, economic and humanitarian crisis that continues to threaten the country. The conflict stoked tensions between local police and youth whose ongoing strife is complicating peacebuilding efforts.

We partner with Chemchemi Ya Ukweli (CYU), a community-based peacebuilding organization that operates throughout the country to reduce levels of violence through interreligious dialogue and community mobilization. Since 2012, our work has concentrated on the Nairobi communities of Mathare, Korogocho and Kibera.

Our Emphasis: Violence Prevention

We're working to change attitudes and build trust between youth, police and their communities by changing narratives about "the other", finding creative opportunities for constructive interactions, and supporting shared problem-solving. In 2012, the IPJ partnered with CYU and Cissta Kenya to learn more about public perceptions of violence and the root causes of conflict in each community. We conducted a baseline survey to inform training of Kenyans in each target community, helping individuals from both groups to develop skills and tools in conflict resolution, violence mitigation, community mobilization and strategies for civic engagement.

Making Peace

Our current work in Kenya is partially informed by student research from internships with partners in the country. Most recently, we sent an IPJ team 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. The team also met with officials from the Kenya National Police Force to improve youth-police relations. These conversations will inform the shape of our institute and CYU projects moving forward.