“We the warring communities living in Marsabit County, particularly the two major communities, remain eternally grateful for the tremendous assistance in terms of trainings on Peace, Resilience and Harmonious co-existence, PACIDA through Christian AID has given us in a bid to ensure peaceful co-existence, says Chukulisa Koyowa with a benevolent smile.
“My name is Chukulisa Koyowa, I am 49 years old and a mother of eight children; 4 Girls and 4 boys. I hail from Turbi Division of Marsabit County. For a number of years, communities in Marsabit had never experienced peace until civil society organizations stepped in and started empowering us of how imperative peace is.”
Growing up, Chukulisa never ever even once thought there ever would exist peace in her native land. She struggled understanding what the word meant in a long time, In fact, to her, peace was a luxury and a very remote affair to attain. She interjects and says, “we fought and disagreed over grazing lands and water particularly for our animals; the greatest asset in a pastoralist’s life.” “As the people who lived in this community, we never realized that it took peace and prosperity to achieve cultural achievements. We were also slow to realize that tranquility has a direct impact on Marsabit’s economy on multiple levels.
“Each time we fought, conflict caused as many deaths each year as are caused by epidemic diseases, and uprooted/displacing millions of people.”
“It came a point where all in unison, we decided that we, just like other Kenyans, wanted to experience peace and decided the more effective our delivery in conveying the message of peace amongst us, the better chance there was of helping us understand the long term costs of conflict,” she sighs in reprieve. She goes on to add that women play multiple roles in conflict and post-conflict situations, and these roles extend well beyond those of caregivers and victims and as women living in Turbi, they decided to start with the existing women groups to pass the message of peace.
“PACIDA came in at the time when there was escalated tension between communities and were able to contain the situation. Community members were trained on peaceful co-existence, herdsmen were taken to herders’ camp, women were taught kitchen gardening, a 5000 cubic metre underground tank was constructed, fodder was planted in a bid to address depleted pasture during drought and numerous peace meetings were conducted.”
With the existence of peace, women engaged in IGAs hence economic empowerment. Amina says, “I have my own kitchen garden where I practice small scale farming and soon large scale farming. Alongside it, I also have my own relatively large shop where I sell household stuff and in the long run, I am seeing myself having a whole sale shop. I am a prime advocate of peace within our county now and everyone calls me ‘mama Amani’, (a Swahili word for Mother of Peace). “As a community, we are forever indebted to PACIDA and all actors for all the developmental and peace initiatives done so far. It would be pleasurable for us if such initiatives were prolonged.”