Let’s Build Bridges of Peace for Our Peace

a project funded by The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and Internews in partnership with FHI360 under the program Safeguarding Democratic Space in Kenya (SADES-K).

This was a project funded by The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) in partnership with Internews and FHI360 in the program Safeguarding Democratic Space in Kenya (SADES-K).  The project’s overall goal; to enhance Kenya’s ability to hold a national conversation on reforms and national cohesion, and to safeguard democratic gains, including protecting civic space, respect for human rights, and observance of rule of law. 

Let’s Build Bridges of Peace for Our Peace was implemented in Uasin Gishu and Bungoma counties. We sought to strengthen social and ethnic cohesion by encouraging dialogue between community members to achieve healing and reconciliation as a road map to building bridges for social cohesion among communities. 

We endeavored to support institutional and legal reforms to enhance democratic and accountable governance and to strengthen social cohesion through healing and reconciliation, capacity building, and facilitating justice for survivors of Conflict-Related Sexual Violence (CRSV).

The objectives of the program were to empower women, youth, elders, peace committees, and other structures to bridge ethnic divides, increase tolerance and acceptance; to promote inclusion and cohesion through multi-sectoral dialogues, trauma healing, and reintegration of ex-militia youth; and to improve community security through enhanced collaboration and partnerships between the security sector and the community structures. 

To achieve these objectives, we advocated for and created awareness among the masses to promote inter-ethnic interactions; support memorialization to address community and personal trauma; create multi-ethnic and inclusive networks to curb violence and conflicts at the initial stages through transformative dialogues where people and communities can discuss and engage themselves peacefully; and build capacity aimed to improve community capacities and abilities to participate in peace processes through empowerment, knowledge transfer and formation of mediation teams. 

The project emphasized collaborations and partnerships, diversity and inclusive participation, and removing structural barriers to achieve equality and equity. This helps in suppressing conflict recipes such as political alignments, shifting national alliances, tribalism, militia groups, and the persistent urge for revenge that stirs up inter-tribal and intra-ethnic conflicts. A close working relationship with government agencies especially the police and Court Users Committees (CUC) was an essential component to supporting the investigation and prosecution of some of the cases. This, to create a platform for healing for most CRSV survivors to bring peace, reconciliation, and work towards a cohesive society.

Implementation of the project objectives and activities bore “The Kopsiro Peace Agreement”. In Mt. Elgon, clan conflict have often spiraled out of control and led to mass death and violence through clan violence. The clan feuds are due to land and power sharing. RWPL realized that unless these issues are addressed, nothing much will be achieved. We learned that social contracts are effective in bridging divisions and bringing together divided parties to reach an agreement amicably. In this project, inclusion acted as a key ingredient for peace and reconciliation to take place.

It was also realized that community conversations had been a missing link in understanding government policies and laws among the rural common people who thrive on long held myths and rumors instead of legal facts. This gap was best addressed through legal education in community conversations with Court Users Committee of Bungoma and Uasin Gishu.

The project set out to strengthen community-based mechanisms for mediation and the mainstream government institutions to help entrench the culture of transparency in service providers. This was done by linking the duty bearers and rights holders to hold each other to account, an approach that carries forward as more community members gain knowledge and maintain space for conversation concerning their lives. 

After a series of consensus building Inter-Clan dialogues between the Soy and Mosop Clans through their Clan Chairs and other interest parties like women groups, youth and professionals from the communities, the formidable teams as represented from each Clan, came up with conjoined teams from the Mosop and Soy Clans to now draft up resolutions towards the 7 Points identified as root causes of the violence that straddles Mt. Elgon. The drafting of the resolutions as an accord they can refer for solutions if conflict spikes or to end standoffs. . A Peace Agreement is a much-desired social contract agreement that agrees to the SADES-K’s Program’s overall goal to enhance Kenya’s ability to hold a national conversation on reforms and national cohesion, and to safeguard democratic gains, including protecting civic space, respect for human rights and observance of rule of law. The resolutions were drafted and agreeable to all parties.


                                                                         Elders Dialogue Forum

The series of Dilaogues have managed to mobilize communities and bring the together to look at their issues in a different light that they can be dealt with through face to face dialogue. The co-joint meetings in the communities through Clan leadership therefore, enhanced social cohesion and dialoguing on ending violence.



Participation of women in the process underscored

Resolutions to the 7-point problems were as follows:


A. Land Adjudication:

That all land matters concerning historical injustices, should be adjudicated according to the current National Land Commission (NLC) policy.

Chepyuk Phases Two and Three:

That the title deeds for the land allocation in phases 2 and 3 be fast tracked before 2022

Chepkitale Trust Land:

a) That the Chepkitale land be restricted for us as per the Trust Land Act in existence since precolonial time

b) That the Title Deed for the Land be issued as community land to the (Mosop) Dorobo/Ogiek Clans.

That the clear boundaries of de-gazetted land be made known to the people to end wrangling in an attempt to gain more land for resettlement.

Shamba System[1]

That politicians should not use the lure of false promises, supporting shamba system and promising to settle people on such land.

That there be no discriminative directives but that the shamba system be allowed in all sub-counties

Land will not be allocated without public participation and their input taken to account.

Forest Land:

That the forest land must be protected and committee composed of clan representatives be set up to monitor to rid of threatening activities like charcoal burning and felling indigenous trees.


a) That there ought to be in place a system of negotiated democracy to give opportunity for political seats to minority clans like Dorobo/Ogiek.

That community lobbies with IEBC to give special seats or representation.

That inclusivity be key in leadership and power-sharing for women to be visible through appointments, youth PWD such as village Elders.

That IEBC look into the possibility of curving wards into two or more wards. That Chepkitale to have its own ward.

b) Political Representation

That the clan elders who have instrumental in peacebuilding, be given a chance to vet those who seek to vet them through a vetting committee. They must be non-partisan.

B. JUSTICE for Victims of Conflict Related Sexual Violence

That the survivors be supported to pursue justice in different forms available. That ADR may be considered in cases where cases over 10 years or more never reached court or child was born from sexual violence

That under the Reparation Framework, as listed in the Truth Justice & Reconciliation Committee (TJRC) Report let reparations be made available and the clan elders will pursue the avenue to its end.

That there be identification of lawyers who may be hired to sue for rights and be ready to redress in court.

That there be organized a day for the survivors to be recognized given community apology for what happened and acknowledge the atrocities that were done to them. Truth telling session


In recognition of UNSCR 1324M, The Kenya Constitution and other regional and international instruments, that women will be given visibility in their contribution to successful peace agreement in Mt. Elgon, by each sub clan incorporating 2 women to attend Clan deliberations. From this pool will be found women peace ambassadors in the ambit of the male dominated Clan meeting.


That there be full recognition and implementation of the law to achieve equal distribution, b, inclusivity equality and equity in sharing of public funded projects services and opportunities.

That draft letters be sent to all CDF offices, wards, Governors on these reminders.

That there be established a committee of 9-11 Clan representatives to follow up on every distribution of projects in CDF, Ward, donations, services etc. If the principle of fairness equality and justice was adhered to.


That each Clan sits down with-it members and retrieve weapons from those suspected of hiding them.

That community education on peace be given to be asked to be vigilant and owners off any illegal arms to surrender them to government.

Enforceability by the government is not really agreed on, in this type of social contracts. But the community and the clan Elders will lead way on showing and expressing good will and commitment.


Enforceability by the government is not really agreed on, in this type of social contracts. But the community and the clan Elders will lead way on showing and expressing good will and commitment.

[1] The controversial shamba system also known as Pelis (Plantation Establishment for Livelihood Improvement Scheme) has been implemented in Kenya by Kenya Forest Service (KFS) in one form or another for over 100 years. When properly practised, the shamba system moves farmers into nearby degraded forest to plant and tend to tree seedlings whilst planting their own crops among the seedlings. They are then to move off the land once the forest has matured. So in theory, the system allows optimum production of food crops along with forestry species from the same land and thus meets most of the social and economic needs of the shamba farmer.