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Kibera for peace and development – building professional competence of the teachers, sport trainers and peacebuilding leaders and support of the local enterprises run by women in Kibera

An informal borough of Nairobi and the country’s largest slum, Kibera is also one of the most politicised places in Kenya. The state of social hardship experienced by its inhabitants – representatives of 42 Kenyan tribes – is compounded by the tension caused by widespread dissatisfaction with the government. Recent years have seen political radicalisation of young people, which becomes most evident at the time of general elections. Since the bloody riots following the 2007 presidential election, the atmosphere in Kenya has never been more tense than it is now. The general elections scheduled for the first week of August 2017 are a test for the entire Kibera and a huge challenge for all those seeking to build peace, without which educational, healthcare and small business infrastructure cannot develop. Of greatest importance for Kenyans today is avoiding politically provoked ethnic violence.

The need for the project had been diagnosed jointly with Amani Kibera, the Kenyan partner organisation active in Kibera since 2007. Amani Kibera is a grassroots civic initiative that has stimulated the local community to activism, promoting peace, the empowerment of women and civic education (www.amanikibera.org). Amani Kibera undertook its peace promotion activities in response to the brutal riots following the 2007 elections. The Polish Green Network developed its collaboration with the Kenyan organisation in 2012. With the assistance of the Polish Development Aid, they rebuilt the community library in 2013, which subsequently increased its readership fivefold and won the Maktaba Award for the best community library in two succeeding years. In 2014, the Uwezo Centre came into operation by commencing its vocational training activities, and soon proved that young women were interested in acquiring vocational skills and becoming financially independent even if that required a major educational effort. Since 2012, both organisations have also supported civic education through sports, among other ways by holding the annual Amani Kibera Peace Soccer Tournament.

Kibera for peace and development – building professional competence of the teachers, sport trainers and peacebuilding leaders and support of the local enterprises run by women in Kibera

The purposes of the project include building a peaceful society and improving the quality of life for Nairobi’s Kibera residents. Project activities will focus on building the skills of the civic leaders who are active in education for peace and civic education – mainly teachers, sports coaches and activists. It is these leaders who are the pillars of civic education and education for peace in Kibera. Their impact on building the attitudes of children, youth and the entire local community is great. These are people already working for the cause of peace and community development, and thus the proposed activities, including the conceived training courses, are designed to improve their skills of working with youth and to familiarise them with new work methods.

The skills and attitudes these adult leaders acquire will have a formative impact on the attitudes and skills of children and adolescents with whom the trained beneficiaries will work, which will bring about a cascade effect in education. The selection of these beneficiaries was informed by the assessment of the potentially greatest effects of their further work with youth.

Kibera does not have the status of a fully-fledged district of Nairobi, and local authorities do not provide it with support; as a result, its teachers, coaches, activists and civic leaders do not receive any regular compensation for their work and do not have many opportunities to improve their skills. In addition, the project puts special emphasis on increasing vocational skills of young women, to whom Amani Kibera has been providing educational activities. Actions that can raise the situation and social standing of local women can translate into greater stability for the entire district and better living conditions for children, who are nurtured mainly by women. Educated, active and self-reliant women are an important part of any healthy social fabric, and in the case of Kibera, they seem to be the guarantor of it. As a consequence, the measures addressed to them constitute not only a step toward improving the situation of women, but also a step toward keeping Kibera free from internal conflicts, extreme poverty and the pathologies resulting in high mortality rates among young people.

Kibera for peace and development – building professional competence of the teachers, sport trainers and peacebuilding leaders and support of the local enterprises run by women in Kibera

As a result of the project, 30 teachers, sports coaches and peace advocacy activists improved their skills in first aid, personal coaching, and methods of education for peace and civic education through training courses of four types. In total, 210 participants took part in trainings courses. Twenty-five women gained skills in apparel sewing and design and in business fundamentals in the course of three training courses, of which fifteen women began the basic tailoring and design course within the project. Five of these women found work with the Uwezo Centre and ten received support in their job search. As part of the “Kibera for peace and development” civic campaign for peaceful elections, approximately 500,000 people learned the message of the social campaign through the local media in a song entitled “ZII,” recorded by Kenyan artists. A total of 225 people were direct participants in two Peace Talks conferences, and approximately 3,000 more participated in the Peace Concert event. Through participation in the Kibera Youth Football League and the Amani Kibera Peace Soccer Tournament, 2,342 girls and boys from Kibera (400 more than expected) honed their civic skills and pro-peace stance.