Update on NAROK!

August 22, 2012

SNA-K is all about empowering, understanding and connecting peace in Kenya.

Narok is one of SNA-K’s projects, and,  like I mentioned in the other blog, I will be focusing on the narok chapter.

Narok County is located in Rift Valley and constitutes 3 constituencies (Kilgoris, Narok North and Narok South). It’s a rural urban populated area, mostly by the Maasai community and Based on Narok Pop Pyramid Age Groups – 2009  there is more female than male population in the area (https://opendata.go.ke).

I was able to talk to Jackie and Caleb to learn more about the work that’s been going on in Narok in the past few months. It was exciting for me to interview them and read their reports to understand what it was all about, and now I pass the knowledge on to you.

Most of the main causes of conflict in Narok are related to land. SNA-K recently did a research into existing land issues in Narok. Their research highlighted key land issues – such as double leasing, family disputes, boundary disputes, and improper documentation and allocation, among other issues. The research also highlighted key areas of confusion and mistakes made by the general public when dealing with land issues. As land and issues surrounding it are so central to conflict in Narok, I’ve to write my first blog entry about Narok with a focus on summarizing the research findings, which form a basis of the issues that SNA-K hopes to help prevent and resolve in the Narok area.

One of the issues that the research found is lack of coordination between legal and traditional land acquisition, management and dispute resolution. SNA-K’s research revealed a complex struggle between variety of authorities and dispute resolution mechanisms. Individuals involved in traditional mechanisms and individuals on the ground seem to prefer the tribunals, and, because of their knowledge, they involve Elders. As it stands now, while the court has a final say, there are always more mechanisms to appeal to/through, and there is a lack of a clear ultimate arbitrator for disputes. Many institutional representatives interviewed expressed the need to work more closely with traditional mechanisms and vice versa.

Another major issue is that members of the public often do not secure documentation or follow correct procedures for land acquisition, management and conflict resolution. Common mistakes include not involving relevant parties, writing the wrong measurement of land (i.e. hectares vs. acres), and more.

Double leasing / double sale of land is another land issue that emerged from the research. The lack of understanding of how this works often leads to conflict. This issue goes hand in hand with boundary disputes and allocation, mostly as a result of lack of documentation and corruption.

Family disputes come up when ‘family land’ is sold by a family member without the consent of the entire family. This mistake extends from the family members and the buyer. Another type of family dispute revolves around inheritance and succession.

And finally, there is an issue of usage of public land specifically in the case of group ranches, which is complicated and often not well understood by the community.

There is definitely a lot of work to be done here, most of which involve civic education, and increase of coordination between government institutions and traditional mechanisms.

In our determination to make a difference thus promote peace, SNA-K is continually doing research by talking directly to the members of the community through land forums and rumor forums in Narok. Additionally, we recently held a stakeholders meeting which brought representatives from different stakeholder groups – including individuals from Councils of Elders, Local Administration officials, and members of the Judiciary, Lands Registry, and many more. This was a first step to open dialogue between institutions so that they can better understand one another and create materials to explain to the public how they relate to each other.

In my next blog, I am going to talk about some very interesting results that came from the forum, so be sure to be on the lookout.

And don’t forget to like Sisi ni Amani on facebook!

Peace is not something you wish for; it’s something you make, something you do, something you are, and something you give away.”-Robert fulgham

Have a lovely week folks


New Program in Narok! Research & Grassroots Forums

March 15, 2012

After SNA-K’s Narok Chapter successfully implemented an educational forum to address land issues in Narok at a key hot spot for conflict, Kibilat, we received positive feedback and requests for replication from individuals all over Narok. People felt that the forum helped them to understand key information about land issues. Specifically, the forum helped participants understand double leasing, a phenomenon in which two individuals are sold the same plot of land. Often, individuals believe others are grabbing their land when there is really double leasing (individuals have been sold the same plot of land, and often both have been tricked by a third party). This causes a great deal of conflict in the area, especially when rumors spread about specific instances of double leasing but exaggerate conflict between individuals into conflict between ethnic communities.

After the positive response from the initial forum, SNA-K sought support to replicate this forum in other parts of Narok, and to implement similar forums to address the relationship between the spread of rumors and conflict. In mid-February, SNA-K officially received support from USAID-OTI to implement this project, complete with new elements of extensive research on land issues throughout Narok, focus groups with key community leaders to create conflict-monitoring mechanisms using SMS, and a radio programs element.

Pastor Wilson Mosonik interviews community members during land research

The project has begun with three weeks of research conducted by ten local researchers in Narok North, Narok South, and Transmara. The researchers have interviewed stakeholders ranging from government land administration institutions, to individuals using these institutions, to local conflict resolution mechanisms and community elders.

This research will inform a series of grassroots forums focused on double leasing and rumors. The format of open-air forums provide a space for community members to come together in a safe space across ethnic lines to discuss the issues that affect them in a moderated format and in the presence of experts on the subjects that they discuss. By combining local perspectives and airing of issues with legal and educational information, SNA-K takes dialogue a step further by enabling community members to take next steps in addressing their issues.

A total of twelve forums will be held, six each on double leasing and rumor monitoring. Forums on double leasing will be held in Mulot, Ololulunga, Nkareta, Noroosura, Transmara, and Mau- Tipis. Forums on rumors will be held in London (Narok Town), Majengo (Narok Town), Ololulunga Town, Mulot Center, Olmekeinyu (Mau Forest Area), and Sogoo. Rumor forums will be planned to coincide with market days and to happen near to market places to have the largest audiences possible.

After these forums, SNA-K will hold focus groups with key community stakeholders to design a conflict monitoring mechanisms based on information gathered about land conflict and rumors. SNA-K will also work with community radio stations to have two shows discussing the most important issues that came up in forums, and will invite guest speakers to discuss how good leadership and policies can help address these issues.

Read the 3-page concept note on this program here!

Narok Teambuilding

February 16, 2012

This blog post is by Caleb Njoroge, SNA-K Intern

A Description of the Day

The SNA-K Narok Team, Transmara Representatives, and Nairobi staff met in Narok Town, and boarded a matatu. The team travelled together to Ilariak grounds, an campground on the way to the Maasai Mara.

The first session was led by Narok’s DPC (District Peace Commissioner), Joseph Pareiyio, and the members got to introduce themselves so as to get acquainted with each other. After the introductions, members got to chat over a cup of tea. The second session was part briefing and part training. Jackie briefed the team on SNA-K’s activities and outlined the roles of the volunteers and how they are expected to conduct themselves during the outreach and events by SNA-K.

Volunteers play introductory games

Volunteers play "getting-to-know-you" game

Mr. Pareiyio took over the session and discussed how teamwork is essential in achieving organizational goals. His talk was tailor-made to fit the SNA-K setting that involves going for outreach and holding public events. This was an insightful session for the members as they asked many questions and participated fully during the discussion. “When one person wins in a team, the entire team wins and when one person looses in a team, then the entire team loses.” “If you want to go fast, go alone but if you want to go far, go with a group/team.” These were some of the concepts that were expounded by Mr. Pareiyio

After a short break, Mr. Pareiyio concluded the morning session by speaking about communication and  the role it plays in any organization and in any team. He noted that communication is the fabric that sustains and maintains any successful team and without it chaos ensues. The team played several games and looked at several examples about how to ensure effective communication, and the potential impacts of ineffective communication within a team.

After the session with Mr.Pareiyio, the team from Transmara was asked to pin point the volatile areas that they thought would benefit from SNA-K’s work. Various hotspots were noted and the reasons for conflict in those hot spots were discussed so as to understand root causes of conflict and the areas in which SNA-K’s approach could be most effective.

The team broke for lunch and was able to bond some more over the lunch session, since eating together is also a form of bonding. After lunch the afternoon session involved games and team sports. The games were to show the members how well they know each other and how well they can function as a team under pressure. It was fun and exciting as members competed against each other in different teams. Members learned how to work with each other to achieve great results in the games. The games centered on communication and trust.

Human Knot

Volunteers work to untangle their "human knot." Communication is key!

The games and sports session concluded the day’s main activities as the team broke off to have a cup of evening tea. The team was excited about spending time together, and even began to propose and plan a team camping trip.

The day had been successful from the beginning and the members were all delighted to have attended and learned all about teambuilding. Members said that they were fully equipped to conduct the upcoming events and outreaches.

Lessons Learnt

Teamwork is the key to any successful organization because it carries with it the elements of success. Mr. Pareiyio explained to the members that for peace to be sustained in the country, the people of Kenya must work together and working together is another term for teamwork. Kenya is made up of 43 different tribes that have different cultures and practices. This makes it hard to come to an understanding, especially when utilization of natural resources come into play e.g. rivers, land, springs etc. This, however, could be solved if the parties involved came together and worked together to reach a solution because two heads are better than one and different tribes coming together to solve a problem makes it much easier to reach a solution than when they try solving a problem as two separate groups.

A team is made up of different people and this was shown clearly from the introductions that were made. Mr. Pareiyio made us realize that as much as we are working together, we are all different people with different names, characteristics, interests, ages etc. These differences are very important in a functioning team because in a winning team you will find everyone has a different set of skills that he/she uses to the best of their abilities to enable the team to function well. If all the people/members of a team had the same set of skills and no diversity, the team would be limited to only what these people know. Diversity of people and their backgrounds makes the team more flexible and diverse, giving it the ability to handle different tasks and solve multiple problems effectively.

Spreading peace and maintaining peace involve the very essence of teamwork because when there is no teamwork in any group or society then peace is threatened since everyone does what they think is best for themselves and are thus likely to offend others and destroy any peace building that might be going on. A winning team, or a successful team, teaches others who observe it so many things. One need not to explain to people what the team is doing right because it’s clearly visible when a group of individuals come together and work in synch – the results can be huge. This is to say that before we preach peace, we must be at peace with each other so that we can function as a team even when we are in different areas.

Another critical area in teamwork that was mentioned was open and clear communication. This was stated as the glue or the fiber that holds a team together and keeps it from falling apart. Members who share openly with each other about different aspects of the team are able to encourage each other to achieve any set goals. Hiding or not addressing any issues concerning the team only serves to damage the relationship of the team members which in turn ends up crippling the team because someone might have a solution to a problem but isn’t comfortable enough to share it due to one reason or the other.

Working as a team has many benefits, and as peacemakers, the number one benefit for us is to spread peace and maintain peace, as this is our goal. Different cultures, races, tribes, personalities, genders and age groups working together on a common goal, translates to teamwork which in turn for us translates into peace.

The SNA-K Narok Team!

The SNA-K Narok Team!

Evaluation: Forum on Double Leasing

November 17, 2011

SNA-K’s Narok team recently held an evaluation meeting to discuss successes and challenges of the Kibilat forum on double leasing.

All members agreed that the meeting went very well, with high attendance of over 90 individuals despite heavy rains and difficulty in travel. The participants were very active, making the forum extremely interactive.

The team concluded that SMS, posters, and radio were highly effective in advertising for the forum, but suggested that outreach on SNA-K in new areas would be crucial, as many individuals in attendance at the forum requested that SNA-K conduct outreach in their areas.

The chapter members pointed out that one of the most important parts of the forum was that both sides of the conflict were represented, and specific people and groups who have fought one another over land in the recent past were in attendance. Initially, these individuals asked pointed questions, attempting to prove one another to be in the wrong, but the team and the lawyer handled these questions by pointing to the procedures and lack of knowledge as the root cause of the issue.

By the end of the forum, participants stood up to testify to their realizations that, in the words of a chapter leader, “everyone was in the wrong because no one was following proper procedures.” These testimonies mainly spoke to the lack of benefit from violence, and the need for everyone to follow the correct procedures.  Many participants asked SNA-K to repeat the forum, stating that the forum and the information it presents are very important for the maintenance of peace. Individuals also said they realized that they only lose by fighting, and one participant went so far as to explain that people do not invest properly because there is no real peace, thus everyone loses economically.

Government officials understood the importance of the forum, and one reported that someone asked him in the morning why there was a peace meeting if there was no conflict. He responded that (paraphrasing): “once there is fighting, we can’t have a meeting – we have to prepare now so we don’t get to that point.”

At the end of the meeting, many individuals in attendance, including local government officials, requested that SNA-K hold similar forums in their areas to address the lack of knowledge on how to acquire land. Many told chapter leadership that they realized they were fighting for nothing and that their communities needed to be educated on the same.

The team will now work to conduct outreach in new areas to which they have been invited, and to replicate this forum in other areas.

Narok plans community forums on Tribalism & Land

September 20, 2011

Narok team meets to plan forums on tribalism & land











The Narok chapter leaders came together this past week to plan two upcoming community forums on the pressing issues of Tribalism and Land. The Narok Town representatives discussed the most important aspects of Tribalism that plan to discuss and proposed experts on these topics to invite. They brought up issues of hate speech and rumors and how communities can understand the impact of these issues and prevent them from escalating into tensions and violence.

Chapter leaders from Ololulunga and Mulot plan forum on land

The representatives from Mulot and Ololulunga, bordering areas outside of town, discussed what they want to focus on in terms of issues with Land. They focused on the issue of double-leasing which is when the landowner leases the land to two different people and thus creates a conflict in which the two lessees often escalate to violence. Double leasing is a major concern in the area, because conflict between members of two ethnic communities over a lease can often escalate to rumors and violence between groups. The Narok Chapter will bring two lawyers, representing two ethnic communities, to speak at this forum to educate the community on the legal aspects of leasing, and what to look out for in terms of contracts and making sure new land is not already being leased. The aim is to empower the community to understand how to prevent and deal with double leasing of land and to give alternative methods other than violence with which the community can legally manage disputes.

The meeting was a productive step towards setting up these forums, and the Narok Chapter is excited to see the turnout and response.


Mulot Hot Spots Analysis

August 16, 2011

On August 9th, the SNA-K Narok Chapter held its third community forum to analyze its hot spots analysis report for the Narok area and gain insights from local community leaders. The first two forums took place in Ololulunga and Narok Town respectively, and the third meeting in Mulot. The meetings all had similar formats, beginning with introductions, a discussion of SNA-K’s work in the area, and presentation and feedback on the hot spots analysis written by the Narok Chapter. Meetings were well attended in all areas and brought a wealth of information to SNA-K’s existing analysis as well as added buy-in within various communities.

Most recently, in Mulot, the meeting focused mainly on land  issues and political incitement, rumors, and misinformation that was spread during previous episodes of violence. The group added additional areas of concern to the original analysis, and also provided insight into different stereotypes and beliefs between groups that contribute to hostility. In Ololulunga, the main issues were land and cattle rustling, while in Narok Town issues centered upon ownership of business and land within Town and animosity between groups based on these tensions.

In all areas, community members made requests that the SNA-K team expand to cover additional areas, and many community members invited the team to come to their particular community. Specifically, attendees of the Mulot forum came from as far as the Transmara border and requested that SNA-K bring its programming to their area. While resources limit expansion at present, these analyses will contribute not only to planning of conflict early warning and response systems for specific areas, but also towards prioritizing areas for expansion and areas that serve as central points of violence and merit more intensive monitoring.