Hosted by IMPACT, the workshop was held at Beisa Hotel in Nanyuki, Laikipia County, from 27-28 September 2022.
In total, 28 individuals participated, representing 12 pastoralist and civil society organisations and 4 universities. The pastoralist organisations work across northern Kenya in five counties – Marsabit, Isiolo, Laikipia, Samburu, and Turkana – and represent 19 different ethnic identity groups in their work.
The pastoralists organisations are all part of Pastoralists Alliance for Resilience and Adaptation in Northern Rangelands (PARAN). PARAN is a collective social movement uniting a variety of pastoralist institutions and organizations, including customary institutions, women and youth groups, community-based and non-governmental organizations, as well as other formal and informal networks.
PARAN seeks to strengthen and promote sustainable pastoralism through advocacy and capacity-building initiatives. The work of these local organisations is crucial now more than ever, with environmental conflict on the rise and external interventions alone proving incapable of delivering sustainable peace.
This workshop was part of a participatory action research project funded by the United States Institute of Peace, entitled ‘Supporting Grassroots Environmental Peacebuilding in Northern Kenya’. This project seeks to generate insights into the the challenges grassroots organisations face in sustaining, scaling, and linking their peacebuilding movements.
The purpose of this workshop was to pilot three initial short training courses developed based on our research. The topics of the training courses were:
1 Building bridges with land authorities
Led by Elijah Lempaira, IMPACT Kenya
2 Building bridges with conservation authorities
Led by Klerkson Lugusa, USIU-Africa.
3 Building bridges with water authorities
Led by Rahab Nyururu, CETRAD
Each short training course included a lecture delivered by an expert in the topic, followed by interactive session where workshop participants could apply knowledge gained (for example, see Box 1). Participants were also given opportunities to share their own experiences and knowledge on each topic and to evaluate each course to identify how their design and delivery might be improved in the final version of the training curriculum.
Box 1: Learning about new ways to resolve land disputes
Elijah Lempaira’s presentation offered participants information on strategies for resolving land disputes between communities, and between communities and land authorities. As a community land expert, Elijah was also able to provide participants with guidance on securing legal title for community lands, and information for ensuring women, youth, and ethnic minorities have their interests protected in the midst of land disputes.
Following the presentation, participants were asked to form small groups and discuss ongoing land disputes in the areas where they work. Then, they collectively identified possible avenues for resolving these disputes based on the information provided by Elijah. After completing this activity, they presented their work, and Elijah offered feedback and further guidance.
Once we are finished piloting all the short training courses and incorporating feedback from grassroots peacebuilders across northern Kenya, a final training curriculum will be developed that will be free to access on our website and of use to grassroots peacebuilders around the world.
The approach of having civil society workers and grassroots peacebuilders pilot our training curriculum aligns with the participatory, action oriented design of our research. There is a dearth of knowledge of how bottom-up approaches to environmental peacebuilding can work to reduce environmental conflict at the sub-state or grassroots level in fragile contexts. Our work responds to the need for knowledge in this area. You can read more about the research here.
Stay tuned for updates on the third and final workshop in our series – expected November 2022.