The aftermath of the chaos which followed 2007 election in Kenya should have convinced any patriotic Kenyan that the real path to prosperity in this country is long lasting peace. ?The lives were lost, properties were destroyed, roads blocked, rail uprooted and in the end the economy which was growing at the rate of about 7% was almost brought to its knee.? There is no doubt at this point on the advantages and benefits of peace.
The seed for the Post election violence was planted during the Referendum on Constitution in 2005 . The environment became toxic during the campaign for Yes and No votes and the hatred became so thick to the extent that you could touch it on the air. The ruling class took it for granted and actually exploited it during the campaign before the election and we all know what followed.
The history could easily repeat itself this time round. We are again talking about the constitutional making and another referendum on the way. The daggers for Yes and No campaign votes are already withdrawn. Afterwards we head to 2012 election or even early and it would be very sad to see the events similar to that of 2007/2008 occurring again.? Actually the right word is Kenyans would be stupid to allow that to happen again, because I believe Kenyans are better than that
There is good news though, Building Bridges, in partnership with Media Focus on Africa Foundation and Butterfly Works on 12th April 2010 launched a program which recognise and reward peacemakers and peace projects across Kenya as a way of strengthening the peace building capacity of Kenyan citizens. Kenya needs peace to prosper and everyone has a role to play. ?The campaign supports people from all backgrounds to make a change.
Building Bridges is open to all Kenyans engaged in peace building and peacemaking activities, including ?organising peace gatherings, community discussions, creative and sportive activities or even holding festivities and doing pro bono work to ensure peace in areas. Building Bridges is putting them all on the map and rewarding the most promising projects.
All registered peace initiatives will be recognised and have their efforts promoted on our online mapping platform. In addition, a jury will select the winners of our cash prizes. Building Bridges offers three cash prize awards:
- 1 Individual will win Ksh. 50,000/= of which half in cash and half in goods and services for the peace activities
- 1 Community Based Organisation will win Ksh. 100,000/= to be used by the organisation for peace activities
- 1 Civil Society Organisation will win Ksh. 150,000/= to be used by the organisation for peace activities
The results of the competition will be publicised through an advert in The Standard newspaper, and winners will receive their prizes during a prize-giving event in Nairobi.
Building Bridges: The Mapping Tool
The campaign website provides various ways of linking individuals and organisations. The mapping tool gives an overview of Registered Peace Building Activities throughout the country. It makes use of Ushahidi?s crowd-sourcing information system (http://www.ushahidi.com). The search functionality includes selection on location, fields of expertise and type of activity. Through ?Yellow Pages? one can find the contact details of professional operating organisations for information or assistance.
Promotion & Timelines
The campaign will launch on April 12th with a promotional advertisement in The Standard newspaper. Registration will run for three months, after which the jury will select the winners.
Print material and existing Radio and TV programmes are used to promote the campaign, notably the soap opera series ?The Team? on Citizen TV (http://www.theteamkenya.com) and the ?Sambaza Peace? project (http://sambazapeace.org/). 20,000 flyers and 2,000 posters will be distributed throughout the country through partner organisations. People who find it difficult to participate due to e.g. illiteracy or limited access to media will be assisted by facilitators.
Media Focus on Africa Foundation is an independent, non partisan, non profit making institution registered in both Kenya and The Netherlands. MFA?s activities are geared towards promotion of good governance, informed and participatory democracy, effective and informed citizens? participation in democratic governance, rule of law and respect for all human rights.
Butterfly Works is a social design agency who co-creates a fair deal for people all over the world. The organisation was founded in 1999 and works in Kenya, Uganda, Nigeria, Morocco, South-Africa, Brazil.
Both organisations also implemented the ?Unsung Peace Heroes? campaign in 2008/09 aimed at identifying and recognizing those who played a positive role during and immediately after the post elections chaos in Kenya (http://peaceheroes.ushahidi.com).