#IAmKenya Essay Series – Peace, Cohesion and Reconciliation by Doreen Mugambi

So, Community Media Trust (CoMeT) received 38 essays from young men and women from Changamwe and Kisauni constituencies of Mombasa. They want to be considered to join #IAmKenya media project as volunteers to undergo a 4-day training in videography, photography and community journalism and thereafter use these new skills to promote cohesion, diversity and reconciliation among youths in their areas. Pretty ambitious, many would say. It will require tonnes of ambition, creativity, patience and sacrifice from all Kenyans to bridge the ethnicity, politics and socio-economic divides which prevent Kenyans from thinking, acting and being as one. #IAmKenya. For the next couple of weeks, I will be sharing, word for word, some of the essays written by these young people who have a passion for bettering Kenya.

The first such essay is written by Doreen Mugambi, a 21-year old girl living in Mishomoroni in Changamwe, currently a part-time student of Community Health and Development at African Institute of Research and Development Studies

“Peace, Cohesion and Reconciliation”

“Peace, this word may seem foreign but to people from countries where violence is the order of the day, it’s (sic) actually a vocabulary. Peace simply means security, safety and trust in ones neighbour or better resolving conflicts without violence and working together harmoniously.

Peace comes with its own advantage and disadvantage. When it comes to its advantages, business prospers, tourists visits the country and there is foreign exchange. With peace, foreigners are willing to come and invest in our country hence growth in the country. And most importantly, peace ensures that people do not live in fear.

Majority of people take peace in their areas for granted. This should not be the case because achieving a peaceful environment requires both trust and selflessness. This can be achieved if we be our brother’s keeper.

Kenya is a diversified country with over 40 tribes. This poses a challenge on achieving peace and reconciliation. Imagine coming home one day and finding your whole family murdered in cold blood just because you are from different tribes or have different political views or more (sic) are from different religions?

Always a country that sticks together grows together;cohesion is another factor that goes hand in hand with peace. It can be achieved through sports, national celebrations like Mashujaa Day, education etc. All these factors join us and make us one country.

Reconciliation is an issue of great importance particularly in areas that have experienced brutal violations of human rights due to ethnic differences, religious differences and political differences and views hence should be upheld by any means.

And this begs for the question, what has our government done to maintain or uphold peace and reconciliation in the country? Organizations like National Cohesion and Integration Commission (NCIC) which promotes Uwiano at the grassroots level was introduced with the aim of bringing national healing and cohesiveness among the Kenyans. Truth Justice and Reconciliation Commission (TJRC) was also formed to promote the process of peace and reconciliation in areas which have experienced violence and more to ensure that people who are involved in fuelling violence among the people are dealt with by the Kenyan law.

What about the media? The media has a role to play in making sue that there is peace in the content they air. They have code of conducts and ethics that prevents them from sharing war and violence content in a way that it can trigger violence all over the nation, a good example is during the SabaSaba day where it was not aired live in any station. They should air effective peace related and reconciliation programs and activities so as to ensure transparency. Media houses should also ensure that journalists and reporters have received quality training for maximum covergae.

In order for all these to happen, #IAmKenya and Wenye Kenya need to look out for each other in order to build this great nation called Kenya.”

Doreen has been selected to be a participant in #IAmKenya and we hope her voice will inspire many more young girls to speak out for their communities. Visit https://www.onepercentclub.com/en/#!/projects/sisikamakenya for more information on this project or to donate to support it.

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