Monday, March 31, 2008

Proposal to deal with the post election conflict

THE POST ELECTION VIOLENCE RESPONSE IN THE INFORMAL SETTLEMENT OF NAIROBI PROPOSAL.



Project title: Enhancing harmony and Development among slum Dwellers in Nairobi through reduction of horizontal violence and strengthening of peoples Organizations.

Time Frame: April to May 2008.

Project Goal: Reduction of Horizontal violence among the dwellers of informal Settlements, through organizing of residents into Neighborhood Peace and Development groups, strengthen the existing CBOs and FBOs and use them to protect Rights.


Beneficiaries: Direct Beneficiaries shall be 250 CBOs with 25,000 members Indirect Beneficiaries shall be all residents of the informal Settlements.

Contact: Lawrence O. Apiyo.
National Chairman, Community Organization Practitioners
Association of Kenya.
PO Box 6253, 00200, new Hurlingham Plaza 3rd Floor Room D11
Nairobi - Kenya.
Email:copakenya@yahoo.co.uk,info@copakenya.com

Introduction.

Community Organization Practitioners Association of Kenya (COPA-K) is a professional membership body of social development workers whose concern is community organizing as a key to genuine people’s empowerment, transformation and sustained development. The Association’s main objective is to promote and enhance community organization work /profession in Kenya. It aims at developing the capacity of its members to be more efficient and effective as community organizers. This is also extended to the leaders of the people’s Organizations in order for them to be effective leaders to their membership.

Basically, Community Organisation is a social development approach that facilitates a community driven development processes with a view to enabling people to actively participate in shaping their destiny.

Background
The post –Election Violence prompted Members of Community Organization Practitioners Association of Kenya to engage in direct mobilization of residents of the informal settlements of Nairobi through leaders of Community Based and Faith Based Organizations.

It was on January 1st that a quick consultation through the short message system among the members arrived at an agreement that the intervention of the Association was of vital importance since the areas that were most affected were the same ones where they work and the affected were the same people they work with. At this time, all the mother agencies where members of the Association work were still on Holiday.

The horrifying horizontal violence was/is uncalled for. It is painful to see poor community members who have lived together in harmony for years, turning against one another, killing one another and destroying/burning one another’s properties. The poor people’s attention has so far been turned away from the main issue, the irregularities surrounding the outcome of the general elections, to the horizontal violence and destruction of properties. COPA – Kenya therefore was convinced that it was within its mandate to facilitate its members to positively intervene and promote peace and reconciliation among the poor.

In the last one month, Kenya has experienced an unprecedented violence as a result of the disputed general elections results. Most affected are the Slums where majority poor live. The on-going violence is characterized by looting, burning of houses, and destruction of business premises, forceful displacements, illegal occupation of houses, refusal to pay rent by tenants and Killings. The police have intervened and opened fire, resulting in more deaths. The violence has divided so much the different ethnic communities that have lived together for many years in the settlements along the political persuasions.

Problem Statement.

It is right to say that the violence we are witnessing and experiencing in this post election period was premeditated by a wider section of the Kenyan society. However, it is not true to say it is a result of the just concluded discredited General elections. Kenya’s problems are as old as its independence. When Kenya fell to colonialists, the problems also set in. Some of these problems revolve around governance, and equitable resource allocation among others. The clamor to correct these historical mistakes and injustices began almost immediately after independence, taking different forms. It is therefore the view of
COPA – Kenya that the violence resulting from the election dispute is just a sign of frustrations and of the nipped hope for change Kenyans have long desired. It has remained a belief and tradition that this elusive change can only be brought about through democratic elections that brings people centered leadership, who would create democratic structures/institutions and systems for indiscriminate governance and resource allocation. It is for a fact that the violence was very evident in and around the poor communities. When the poor turn against one another, they turn against those they perceive belong to the side of oppressors and when they turn against the middle class areas, Business places, transport agencies, it means they destroy anything they feel is a manifestation or a pillar of oppression. Of greater concern to COPA – Kenya is the preparation of the grassroots to participate in the coming Truth and Justice Commission and Electoral review committee hearings. We are concerned that the hard truths that will come from these commissions may fuel some disharmony and disrupt the gains already made in creating peace in the settlements. Worth mentioning is the fact that no institution or individual can neither force nor prosecute anyone for hate, but genuinely sustained positive change processes can cause transformation and conversion. Based on this, COPA-Kenya seeks not only to address the violence through peace and Reconciliation initiatives, but also on a longer term community organizing for good governance and asset Building among the poor in our urban towns and cities.

Reduction of Horizontal violence among the dwellers of informal Settlements, through organizing of residents into Neighborhood Peace and Development groups, strengthen the existing CBOs and FBOs and use them to protect Rights shall become the core m mandate of COPA –Kenya in this endeavor.

Beneficiaries: Direct Beneficiaries shall be 250 CBOs with 25,000 members. Indirect Beneficiaries shall be all residents of the informal Settlements in Nairobi.

Target Areas. The targeted Settlements/slums are found in Nairobi city and include: -
Kibera, Korogocho, Huruma, Kiambiu, Baba Dogo and Mathare.


Current priority problems.
• Loss of sources of livelihood.
• Illegal occupation of other peoples houses.
• Weakening Community Based Organizations.
• Insecurity.
• Limited access to adequate basic needs such as food, clothing, and households.
• Fear, Trauma, suspicion and hopelessness.


Please contact COPA-Kenya for further information

Oti

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